MUMBAI, 4 February 2022: In order to bring various voices of companies about the 2022-23 budget reactions to our readers, AgriTimes is clubbing out all the views and points raised by agriculture & allied sectors in this article.
Rallis India managing director and CEO Sanjiv Lal said, "Firstly, I must compliment the government for the pro-agriculture budget. The Government took important steps to boost the agricultural sector and it clearly reflects in the budget proposals. The involvement of Kisan drones for crop assessment, land records, and spraying of insecticides will not just drive the use of technology in the agriculture sector but also open up a spectrum of new development opportunities for farmers.
The digital delivery of hi-tech services to farmers using the PPP mode, with the involvement of public sector research, institutions, and other stakeholders of the agriculture value chains, is a key reform needed to keep up with the new era of digitisation.
The budget has been well thought through aiming to reduce the country’s dependence on imports of oilseeds through a comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production. In addition to this, the exemption is also being rationalized on tools for the agri-sector which are manufactured in India. Lastly, the announcement of the fiscal year 2022-23 being the International Year of Millets bring a new ray of light for the farmers.”
Ram Kaundinya, Director General, Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) said, “The Budget did not spell out any specific initiative for the biotech sector, however, it had a few things for the agri sector—especially the thrust on millets and increasing the domestic production of oilseeds. In the Economic Survey, the government underlined the need for enhanced research in agriculture as well as oilseeds in addition to need for crop diversification.
However no announcements to boost research in breeding and biotechnology were made in the Budget. For instance, It would have been in the fitness of things if the government had said that modern science and biotech would be used to boost oilseeds production in the country. Also some incentives for crop diversification from rice and wheat to Oilseeds would have been very appropriate. Our industry sought restoration of tax deductibility of research expenditure but looks like it has not been approved. ”
Vimal Alawadhi, MD, Best Agrolife said, "The Government's intent to improve the agriculture sector was visible in the Budget announcements. Though we expected various measures for the Indian Agrochemical industry, there was no announcement regarding the industry's growth. Similarly, the farm sector was also eagerly waiting for the reforms to reduce the cost of farm inputs and modern technologies required for increasing the farmer's income and pushing up the agriculture sector's growth beyond 3.9%. In line with the Government's focus on modern-day agriculture, we will continue educating the farmers about the judicious use of safe agrochemicals."
Commenting on the budget, Simon Wiebusch, Country Divisional Head, Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka (IBSL) commented, “Agriculture forms the backbone of India’s economy, facilitating rural employment, development and food security. As part of the agricultural input industry which is an important contributor to this journey of growth, making Indian farmers more sustainable and prosperous, we welcome the continued impetus on agriculture in the Union Budget 2022.
We hope that the measures to streamline the Agri value chain and enhance farm productivity through the PPP model will increase smallholder farmer incomes. Boosting domestic oilseed production, ensuring direct monetary benefits to farmers for their agricultural produce, encouraging the use of drones for agriculture and strengthening FPOs through innovation and technology, are steps in the right direction. As a life sciences company with 125 years presence in India, we aim to spearhead efforts towards improving rural prosperity through modern technology and global best practices to support smallholder farmers.”
Diwakar Kumar, Managing Director, Nutriagrotech Pvt Ltd said, "The Budget 2022 has rightly introduced Kisan drones that seem to create an usher flow of technology in the agri-tech sector. In another interesting development, a fund with combined capital was also announced under NABARD. We are also happy to see the announcement of Chemical-free natural farming which will help for exports as well as health across our country.
Amith Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, AgriBazaar - India's largest agritech marketplace says, "This year’s budget is forward-looking and takes a long-term view of making India an economic superpower. Key areas to promote self-sufficiency, Atmanirbhar Bharat and a simpler life for the citizen are the thrust areas alongside infrastructure-led capex spending. One of the key initiatives of Madam Minister that will have a ripple effect for the rural economy is the announcement of laying of optical fibre line in villages under BharatNet project under PPP in 2022-23.
Digitization of rural India and making high-speed internet available to every villager will result in higher incomes and a better quality of living. FM’s announcement of a comprehensive scheme that reduces the reliance on oilseed imports is good news as it will focus on changing the crop sowing pattern of the Indian farmer. In addition, it will save precious foreign exchange and ensure higher price realization for the Indian farmer.
The announcement of Kisan drones for promoting crop assessment, digitizing land records, spraying agri-nutrients like fertilizers and pesticides, etc., will give a fillip to increasing the yield of the small and marginal farmers. Moreover, it will bring about scientific thinking towards Indian agriculture. Similarly, promoting chemical-free natural farming in India is a big step in ensuring healthy produce for Indians and making our agriculture export-ready.
Especially for premium markets like Europe, the USA, Japan, etc. Additionally, it will reduce the input expense of the Indian farmer, resurrect soil health, and ensure we take care of mother nature. Including 100 percent of India’s 1.5 lakh post office on the core banking system is transformational. It will not only speed up financial inclusion but ensure farmers in rural areas can link their bank and post office accounts.
We believe it will help in easy availability of finance for the small rural customers. I look forward to the fund, which will have blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD for financial start-ups in the agriculture and rural enterprises. It will attract capital in the rural sector and ensure scientific upgrades in the farm produce value chain."
Karthik Jayaraman, Managing Director, WayCool Foods & Products Pvt Ltd, India's fastest growing Agri-commerce company said, finance minister in her FY 23 Budget has announced several major policy interventions that direct capital, both public and private, towards sunrise sectors, such as agritech, drone-tech, and climate smart technology, as well as towards strengthening core infrastructure that impacts logistics, including food logistics.
The Government has also underlined its focus on sustainability by doubling down on natural farming and regenerative agriculture.
This triple barreled approach lays the foundation to building the next generation of food supply chains in India, leapfrogging other countries in the use of technology. It will help propel our core sectors such as food and agriculture, energy and other spaces firmly into the 21st century, and sends out a very bold signal to the world, that the world's largest democracy is also demonstrating that it is the world's most forward thinking democracy. It also sends a signal to private capital, nudging private capitalists to focus on sectors of substance, rather than froth.
The government has also ensured there is a policy continuity and a roadmap for the farm sector, the foundations for which were already laid in last year’s budget. The thrust to use technology and diversify farming activities will ensure farming as a profession remains sustainable and attractive. With emphasis also being laid on the roadmap of making end to end supply chains more efficient and reducing costs in the farming sector which currently acts as a big impediment.
Vasanth Madhav Kamath Founder & CEO of Hydrogreens Agri Solutions said, "The Budget 2022 has rightly initiated a significant focus towards the rural economy and rural development. With the introduction of Kisan drones, seems to usher a wave of technology in the agri-tech sector. In another interesting development, funds with combined capital were also announced under NABARD.
We welcome the Government's low carbon development strategy which would help unlock more job opportunities. We are also happy to see the allocation of INR 19,500 crore for the PLI scheme to manufacture high-efficiency solar modules. Tax deduction for cooperative societies up to 15 percent is another welcome move. However, I'm albeit disappointed to see that no major specific announcements were made for greening the dairy farming value chain."
Startups & Investment
Jinesh Shah, Managing Partner of Omnivore said, "The Union Budget for 2022 is steering the country into a greener future. Acknowledging the impact of global warming, the rising cost of cultivation and concerns around human and planetary health, sustainable agriculture has been pushed to the centre stage. It is an important step towards climate-proofing Indian agriculture and securing the livelihoods of millions of smallholders in the country. A blended capital fund under NABARD is also interesting as it can provide the FPOs with much-needed assistance. Keeping up with the times, the government's support for drone use in agriculture and stressing the role of startups in facilitating 'drone shakti' is a great leap forward for driving precision farming at scale. I congratulate the Hon. FM for delivering a balanced budget that addresses the current challenges in the economy."
Nishanth Chandran, Founder & CEO, Tendercuts said, "The major initiative to introduce chemical-free natural farming is sure to create a better outlook on the quality of food and essentials related to farming and poultry. Provision of funds through NABARD for agriculture and rural enterprises, especially for the farm produce value chain, would be helpful in strengthening the poultry, meat, and seafood sectors. Secondly, as drivers of growth for the economy, the announcement of tax incentives for start-ups to be incorporated until March 31, 2023, will have a good impact on nurturing the start-up ecosystem. It is wonderful to note that the 2022 budget’s focus on road infrastructure will be a game changer and help in maintaining smooth supply chain management. Moreover, the introduction of data exchange will ensure better logistics and the efficient movement of goods."
Sandeep Sabharwal, CEO, SLCM Group said, " On the positive side, Budget 2022-23 announcement has provided impetus towards inclusive growth in Agriculture. Announcements on digitalization, NABARD fund with blended capital to fund startups is also a welcome move. Emphasis on skill development in agriculture with reference to university syllabus revision is a step in the right direction to empower the industry . Logistics under agri sector has been provided the much needed boost through creation of new logistics parks and efficient railway network."
"Whereas on the other hand, a lot of policy making has been done but focus on execution hasn’t been pushed as needed. industry demands like Rationalize GST , getting cheaper Insurance for Agri has not been given required attention. It would have been a welcome decision if institutions providing Agri credit like NBFC’s , Agri procurement companies were given some schemes to cover Agri related bad debts just as Bad bank has been put in service for commercial banks. Fast Track courts for conflict resolution in the agri sector continues to be a distant reality," Sabharwal.
Livestock & Feeds
Amit Saraogi, Managing Director, Anmol Feeds, Chairman for Livestock Taskforce, CII for Eastern Regional Council, Director Member of MCC Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Chairman of Council on Animal Husbandry, Fisheries & Rural the year 2021-2022 said, " The livestock and animal husbandry sector contributes 4.11 percent to GDP and 25.6 percent to total agriculture GDP, yet there was inadequate attention presented to the sector in the Union Budget of 2022. Duty reduction on certain inputs required for shrimp aquaculture to promote its exports is a welcome move as it will further boost entrepreneurial mindset and help in job creation. Lowering production cost of shrimp hatchery and feed will promote growth in the sector. The fisheries and aquaculture sector has tremendous potential to generate livelihood and income. However, marine and dairy products were left untouched by the budget."
"Like announcements made for wheat and paddy farmers, MSP was needed to be fixed for the poultry sector as well. This would have benefited the poultry farmers to a large extent. The industry also expected a viable solution towards controlling the ever spiraling of the raw material prices as it has been plaguing the already overburdened industry. The budget for Blue Revolution has not been outlaid. The blended capital fund to startups for agriculture & rural enterprise will be valuable for the sector. Making optimum utilization of technology and IT in the farming sector is required for modernization of the industry and keeping up with the post digital world. While development of infrastructure, roads and railways will also benefit the agriculture sector in terms of efficient logistical and supply chain management, the industry expected a lot more from the Budget to support farmers who are the backbone of our country," Saraogi adds.
"The support towards branding millet products nationally and internationally is a timely and welcome move. With UN declaring 2023 as the year of millets and with the known health and nutritional benefits of millets, it is expected that use of millets would go up tremendously. This is a right time to ensure India continues its leadership position as a producer of millets," Devroop Dhar, Co-founder and MD, Primus Partners said.
Solar pumps & renewable
Dinesh Patidar, Chairman & Managing Director, Shakti Pumps (India) Ltd said, “The Budget presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reaffirms the Government's support and commitment to achieve the Solar Energy Vision & Goals. The budget reaffirms government’s support and commitment for achieving the vision for solar energy goals. The outlay will boost significant investments and projects commenced under various schemes including the PLI projects by the manufacturing companies.
The government’s support in this regard additionally fulfils the dual objective of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make-In-India.
In order to support domestic manufacturing of solar panels for meeting the target of 280 Giga-Watt of solar capacity by 2030, INR 19,500 crore for Production Linked Incentive (PLI) for high efficiency modules with priority to fully integrated manufacturing units will be made in 2022-23. In addition to this, the budget has kept provisions for the various CFA based programs such as for Solar On-grid program, for PM-Kusum Scheme and more; thus the total budget for solar energy based supportive program is INR 5206 Cr.”
Tushar Devidayal, CEO & Founder at Devidayal Solar, "We are happy to see the Government's continued focus on Climate Action and Renewable Energy Transition, as these have been prioritised in this year's Budget. We also welcome the additional Budget allocation under PLI for the solar manufacturing sector. This is a positive step by the Government in the right direction, not only in terms of furthering 'Make in India' but also towards enabling a cleaner and greener economy in the upcoming decade."
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