FICCI welcomes third tranche of economic package for agri sector

New Delhi: Commenting on the third tranche of economic package announced by the Finance Minister today, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI said, “Our anna-datta finally get their due and FICCI thanks the Prime Minister and Finance Minister for ushering in a new dawn in the agriculture sector of the economy. The spate of governance reforms announced by the government will finally unshackle Indian agriculture and liberate the Indian farmer who until now was largely tied to a few buyers in terms of selling the produce.”

“The Essential Commodities Act had outlived its utility and by bringing a change in this the government has ensured that investments in the agri-value chain will get a boost. Additionally, the announcement on introducing a central law to free up inter and intra-state trade of agri-products will help farmers in getting a better price for their produce and we hope that all states will adopt this in right earnest,” added Dr Reddy. Agriculture is the only product where the producer (farmer) have to sell to only through a fixed channel which is the APMC. This new law and act will be a significant boost to the farmer.

In its Fiscal Response Strategy, FICCI had recommended large scale investments to be made in strengthening the agri-infrastructure. The package announced today moved the needle in that direction. Be it Rs 1 lakh crore fund to be set up for improving the farm gate infrastructure or the Rs 10,000 crore scheme announced to support micro-food enterprises or Rs 15,000 crore animal husbandry infrastructure development fund, all of these will have a huge multiplier impact and contribute towards doubling of farmer’s income in the years ahead. These will ensure that the wastages in farm produce are minimised, there is greater processing and farmers get better price for the produce.

“The government has recognised the important role being played by Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and by giving these a major push, we can expect much stronger market linkages being provided to farmers as FPOs are in tune with the market realities and what is being demanded at any given point of time. Additionally, the thrust laid on dairy sector is also welcome as every 1 lakh litre of additional dairy capacity created leads to generation of as many as 6000 jobs,” added Dr Reddy.

The creation of a legal framework to provide farmers with certainty with regard to the offtake and pricing even before sowing is started is an indication that government is serious about promoting contract farming whose benefits we have already seen in certain parts of the country. Connecting farmers with food processing companies, aggregators, bulk buyers etc. helps in improving certainty of sales as well as get other benefits like provision of better seeds and new technologies.

With India being amongst the world’s largest livestock holders, 100% vaccination for our pashu-dhan will not only boost livestock health but also improve the global demand and perception of the products being safe. Bee keeping initiatives will ensure additional and alternative source of income opportunity for farmers particularly women in rural areas.