MUMBAI, 16 May 2020: With the government announcing initiatives during the COVID 19 crisis, the industry has welcomed the steps taken by the government to reform the agriculture & allied sector.
Welcoming this, Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) chairman Dr M Ramasami said, "Setting up of INR 100,000 crore agriculture infra fund for farm-gate infrastructure and Rs 10,000-crore scheme for the formalization of micro food enterprises and amendment of the essential commodities act will bring a renewed focus on agriculture and farmers' welfare."
Bigleaf in reforming agriculture sector
"The amendment of the Essential Commodities Act was much awaited and it is a big step towards the entry of multiple players in the agricultural market making it competitive and thus allowing farmers to get better pricing for their produce. The de-regulation of agricultural produce including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potato is a bold step that will have an immense impact on the open market. The law to implement agriculture marketing reforms will provide adequate choices to farmers, especially if they are supported by digital platforms," Ram Kaundinya, Director General, FSII said.
Dr Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director, FSII said, "We welcome the focus on agricultural produce price and quality assurance. Such risk mitigation measures will assure fair price and profit to the farmer. We are also looking forward to INR 10,000-crore scheme for the formalization of micro food enterprises, especially the planned support for existing micro food enterprises, farmer producer organization, self-help groups and cooperatives".
Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative will have positive impact on the rural economy
"The agriculture reform announced by the government under the flagship Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative is a welcome step. These measures supporting farmers will certainly have a far-reaching and positive impact on the rural economy, Sanjiv Lal, Managing Director & CEO, Rallis India said.
"We believe that the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act is perhaps one of the most important steps taken for the sector. As announced by Finance Minister, this amendment will enable better price realization for farmers by attracting investments and making the agriculture sector competitive," Lal added.
With this legislative reform, along with the proposed investment in agriculture infrastructure and marketing reforms, we can expect to see a considerable increase in the earnings of farmers across the country. The agriculture sector, which is considered as the backbone of the nation, will get immensely benefited from this development perhaps similar to what other sectors of the economy have already witnessed when economic reforms were initiated in the early 1990s, Lal said.
Agri Infrastructure Fund will mitigate post-harvest losses, wastage
AgriBazaar Co-Founder & CEO Amith Agarwal commenting on the developments said, "I wish to congratulate PM Modi and finance minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman on the announcement of Rs 100,000 crore Agri-infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure. This measure will significantly contribute towards mitigating post-harvest losses and wastage by giving a fillip to scientific storage facilities and also, help the small farmers earn additional income by way of value-added agri-produce.
Emphasizing the importance of these initiatives, Agarwal said, "The long-term investments will help India build quality, world-class agri-assets, and infrastructure that will benefit small farmers in a long time. The focus on aggregation points will help young Indian start-ups, private players and agri-preneurs to build digital and agri-tech driven platforms and solutions so that the small farmer can sell his produce with minimum hassle and maximum profits."
Alongside farmgate infrastructure, which will be the hardware, aggregators will provide the software to drive efficiency both in terms of price and wastage losses. I envision a ‘Farm In India’ economy alongside a ‘Made in India’ economy in the coming years due to the government's visionary and bold move. In the immediate term, it will provide an impetus for the agri-sector to come out of the COVID19 shock while in the long run, it will secure India's food security and supply chain in a self-sufficient manner. Today is a great day for the India small farm-owner, Agarwal stressed.
Agarwal added that "The series of the financial impetus by the Finance Minister to various economic sectors is most welcoming. The government has rightfully identified the agricultural sector as one of the most impacted and the INR 200,000 crore loan to the Indian farmers is a big relief to the sector. As India moves towards a new economic revival with the spirit of self-reliance infused by the prime minister, the agricultural sector has to be rapidly modernized and digitalized to have a supply chain continuity going on the face of any future crisis."
Image credit: Financial Express