India needs to build up an institutional mechanism both at the Centre and state levels to utilise the corpus of funds allocated to the agriculture sector so that a robust and integrated Agri value chain management can be created, Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India said in a webinar Friday evening.
Speaking at the FICCI webinar on ‘Positive Implications of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package on Agriculture Sector’, Dr Dalwai said, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat symbolises a kaleidoscope of agriculture sector interventions, comprising policy liberalisation and Agri-logistics upgrade. The two complement each other and are set to impart an accelerated pace to the growth of agriculture sector and overall economy of India.” “Reforms announced under Aatmanirbhar Bharat is just the beginning and not the end. It will unleash an income revolution for our farmers,” he added.
Dr Dalwai said that there was a change in thought process and now we look at agriculture as a business opportunity. He also mentioned that demand forecasting and digital farming will play a big role in the days to come.
During the webinar FICCI-GT Report on ‘Decoding agriculture in India amid COVID-19 crisis’ was released.
“Provision of financing facility of Rupees one lakh crore for building farm-gate infrastructure should be pursued in PPP (public-private-partnership) model so that maximum stakeholders can leverage the opportunity,” said TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE). He stressed upon the need for creation of an Agri Council in line with the GST Council for an integrated approach between the Centre, state and all concerned ministries.
Dr Ajai Kumar, Head Government and Industry Affairs-South Asia, Corteva Agriscience said, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat is a progressive concept where India not only becomes self-reliant but also plays an enhanced role in the global supply chain. He added that in these testing times when global supply chains had been disrupted and were shifting, India could play a meaningful role in supplying agri-inputs to the farmers across the globe.
Amit Mundawala, Executive Director, StarAgri Warehousing and Collateral Management said, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat package has given the required impetus to the agriculture sector which is going to lead the sector to the next growth phase.” He congratulated the government for the three landmark ordinances that are definitely going to change the face of the agriculture sector in India.
Rahul Kapur, Partner, Grant Thornton India, said that the agriculture sector had again demonstrated its resilience during these trying times. The government had reconfirmed its commitment to the sector by giving it timely support. Going forward, agriculture would continue to support the economy and create jobs until the rest of the sectors stabilise.
Key highlights of FICCI–Grant Thornton report on ‘Decoding agriculture in India amid COVID-19 crisis’
- Creation of an Agri council on lines of the GST council to enable coordination and enforcement between Centre, state and other ministries.
- The future Agri supply chains need to have integration of market intelligence with demand estimation. To achieve this, integrating Internet of Things (IoT), geospatial mapping and cloud computing must be explored.
- Advance data analytics and network mapping to monitor produce flow and identify gaps is necessary for information on risks in supply chain. This will also be valuable while devising suitable strategies to curb post-production losses.
- Larger allocation should be made in technology, farm mechanisation and research and development to ensure increased productivity and improved quality at global levels.
- To improve the efficiency for agriculture input subsidies given by the government to the farmers, all the agri-input cost should be calculated based on one hectare and farmers should be given direct benefit transfer (DBT) as soon as the requirement arises.
- Government needs to develop more custom hiring centres to enable small and marginal farmers for adopting use of machinery in farming activities at reasonable prices.
- India should prioritise the export of value added agri food products. A step in this direction includes promoting India’s food processing industry globally. Further, a more accommodative export policy, specifically with the export of foodgrains would help India secure a leading position in the global food supply chain.
- Incentivising research and development in the sector and introducing a fast track regulatory regime would help attract greater investments in the sector.