Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday justified increase in the prices of rice from the government pool, saying the government paid more to farmers for procuring it.
"We pay more for procurement of rice from farmers and naturally the price of rice will go up," he said after inaugurating the 1459th branch of public sector Vijaya Bank at Tayamangalam near Sivaganga on Sunday.
"Agriculture is the poorvikam (original vocation) of the country and if the farm sector did not prosper...then the country will not prosper," he said.
"There is no rule of nature that farmers should remain poor for ever. When the Government provides better price for rice and wheat, naturally their prices will go up," he said.
The government was determined to give a good price for the farm produce, he said.
Stressing the need to increase food production as per the requirements of the country, he claimed that the agricultural sector had seen excessive growth recently and production of wheat and rice had doubled.
He also urged farmers to avail farm loans as it comes at a cheap rate of interest.
The UPA government had increased the loans given to farmers from Rs 85,000 crore in 2004 to Rs 7.5 lakh crore in this fiscal to improve the farm sector. The interest on farm loan was just seven per cent and if the principal and interest were paid properly then three per cent rebate was also given, he said.