Farm growth not to be impacted much this fiscal due to COVID-19 lockdown: Agriculture Minister

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) The country's farm sector is functioning smoothly despite COVID-19 lockdown and there will not be much impact on its growth in the current fiscal unlike other sectors, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday.

Agriculture and allied sector's growth stood at 3.7 per cent during the 2019-20 fiscal.

Meanwhile, government think tank Niti Aayog pegged the farm sector growth at 3 per cent in the current fiscal in hopes of a good monsoon amid prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Addressing the media, Tomar said: 'In the current lockdown situation, the agriculture sector is functioning smoothly as there has been no shortage of foodgrains, vegetables and dairy products. But, many other sectors are impacted. We are proud of our farmers. We thank our farmers'.

The impact of lockdown on the overall agriculture GDP will not be much this year on hopes of good rains. And the government has exempted farm activities from the lockdown rules, he said.

'Agriculture GDP was at 3.7 per cent during last year. I am confident that this growth in future will not be impacted much,' Tomar added.

Sharing the same views, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said farm sector growth is estimated to be 3 per cent in the 2020-21 fiscal despite prevailing adverse circumstances.

The forecast of good southwest monsoon, sufficient water level in reservoirs, increase in kharif sown areas, rise in offtake of fertilizer and seeds -- all these factors are in favour of farm sector growth, he said.

The agriculture sector will rise to the occasion and play an important role in giving normal growth to Indian economy, he added.

'If you look at growth rate of 3.7 per cent in current price level, then growth rate comes to 11.3 per cent, which is 60 per cent more than the growth rate of the non-agriculture sector,' the Niti Aayog member said.

Agriculture accounts for 15 per cent of India's gross domestic and a source of livelihood for more than half of the country's 1.3 billion population. PTI LUX HDA