Nagpur: President Pranab Mukherjee has said that improving the access of farmers to markets is critical to reduce farm wastages, control inflation and increase incomes.

In this regard, he is happy to note that the Union Ministry of Agriculture has declared 2014 as the Year of the Farmer Producer Organization, to enable the farmer to achieve economies of scale.

Mukherjee said this while inaugurating the ‘Krishi Vasant’ an agricultural exposition organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Government of Maharashtra here yesterday.

Asserting that Public Private Partnerships (PPP) can bridge the infrastructure gap in the post-harvest food domain, Mukherjee said: “There is a need to encourage greater investment by organized logistics players, processors and retailers for developing markets under the PPP mode.

“This will ensure better returns for the farmer as well as industry the multiple strategies have helped generate sufficient surplus to meet the commitment made to over two-third of our countrymen under the National Food Security law. At the same time, they have spurred the growth of high value agriculture to meet the changing needs of a rapidly growing middle income population,” he added.

The President further said in a scenario of growing grain stocks and increasing production of high-value commodities, it is ironical for food inflation to continue for long periods.

“Loopholes have to be identified to streamline the supply chains and bridge the gap between wholesale and retail markets. This calls for institutional changes in agricultural marketing,” he added.

Mukherjee called upon all stakeholders to make technologies and best practices accessible to farmers, especially small and marginal farmers.

He stated that the agriculture extension network has to be galvanized to ensure prompt delivery of services to farmers. He said the Krishi Vasant is the right platform to interact, deliberate and demonstrate what needs to be done to provide fillip to Indian agriculture.

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