Private investment in agriculture key to boost farmers income: Parshottambhai Rupala

New Delhi: Mr Parshottambhai Rupala, Minister of State (Agri & Farmers Welfare), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, today said that PM’s ambitious target of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022, can be achieved through private sector investment and participation in agriculture.

Addressing the ‘7th India Maize Summit 2021’, organized by FICCI, Mr Rupala said that farmers will be interested in the cultivation of maize only if it’s profitable. “We must project maize as a surplus crop,” added the minister. He mentioned that the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is committed to the development of the sector and has been working towards bringing various reforms and putting efforts to increase farmers? income through every possible aspect.

Mr Rupala further highlighted the importance of hedging and the need to include it in the agricultural policies. He also gave assurance for minimum support price (MSP) in maize. Maize, he said is a cereal crop of versatile use and must be promoted as intercrop. The minister urged FICCI to send recommendations on this sector which will be used for policy framing.

Mr Amrendra Pratap Singh, Minister, Agriculture Department, Government of Bihar said that Bihar is one of the strongest agricultural states in India and urged entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture and ago- processing sector in the state. “Investors and entrepreneurs can be rest assured they will get full cooperation from the Bihar government. We want maize to be used enterprisingly in Bihar and industry has a key role to play in it,” he added.

The minister further said that the potential of maize is yet to be explored and it can be achieved through improvement in the productivity by adoption of new technologies and effective agriculture practices by the producers.

Bihar, he said always had the potential to be an enterprise state and an ethanol promotion policy will permit investors to directly produce ethanol which will make Bihar the ideal state for investment in agriculture. Speaking on the FPO’s he said, we want to be an FPO exporter. “Our production must be appreciated in the country, and we must have customers not only in India but globally,” he added.

Mr Ravishankar C, Vice President Marketing, Bayer CropScience & Chair of Maize Initiative said we need to create public infrastructure so that we can be competitive exporters and not just internal traders. We must ensure our farmers do not suffer a competitive disadvantage.

Mr Gurpreet Bhathal, Director-Seed Sales, Corteva Agriscience said to realize full potential of maize, it is necessary to make maize farming profitable for farmers. Maize Farmers need good germplasm, agronomic interventions, enabling infrastructure & minimizing of post-harvest waste. This could only be achieved through collaboration & intervention. Private companies, FPOs, Govt and Public sectors need to come together to play an enabling role, he added.

Mr Vijay Kumar Venkatraman, Managing Director, NCDEX said farmers will wait for the right price and need storage infrastructure for maize. India has major scope in maize exports which needs improvement in the supply chain.

Mr Sunjay Vuppuluri, Head -Food & Agribusiness Strategic Advisory & Research (FASAR) Segment, YES Bank said the knowledge paper released today captures dynamics of the maize sector with a focus on India and identifies the key challenges. We need to develop a maize atlas, productivity improvement and agricultural practices, he said.

Mr T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE Ltd said having realised the potential of maize in generating better income for farmers while providing gainful employment, Maize also qualifies as a potential crop for doubling farmer’s income. Over the last decade, maize consumption in India grew at a CAGR of 5.6% while production grew at just about 2.9%. Looking at the rising demand for Maize, there is an imminent need to establish a clear road map for this sector.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that agriculture has been and remains a key focus area for FICCI. “During the past few years, we have been constantly striving to propose key reform measures to the government for making Indian agriculture globally competitive. FICCI will work with the government towards strengthening the ongoing changes to help the farmers”, he added.

‘FICCI-Yes Bank Knowledge Report: Boosting Growth of India’s Maize Ecosystem, Key Imperatives’ was released during the session.