New Delhi: India has emerged as a strong player in helping cool down global food prices by exporting major farm commodities like rice and wheat, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday.
"While feeding 17 per cent of world`s population we have emerged as strong player in international market helping to cool down the world food prices," Pawar said at the 16th Indian Cooperative Congress organised by NCUI.
Last year, the country exported agriculture produce worth Rs 1.87 lakh crore, while this year till February itself exports have already crossed Rs 2.1 lakh crore, he said.
The minister said that the country has harvested record foodgrains year after year. Agriculture is the only sector in the country which has almost achieved its 11 Plan target of 4 per cent growth rate.
The sector has performed well also because of the presence of large number of primary cooperatives handling supply of agriculture inputs, credit, and marketing and storage activities, he added.
The minister said that the cooperatives are more relevant in the the present era than any other time because it is the most potent tool for inclusive growth.
"It creates job opportunities, sustainable livelihood for millions of people in the farm sector and also has the capacity to reverse the rural to urban migration," he said.
Both short-term and long-term cooperative credit sector and urban cooperative banking sector has the capability to promote financial inclusion, which is necessary for inclusive growth in the rural and semi-rural areas, he said.
According to official data, foodgrains production in 2011-12 was record at 259.32 million tonnes. It is expected to be high at 255.36 million tonnes this year.