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Agriculture reforms will increase income opportunities for farmers: CII

Jamshedpur, Dec. 15: The recent reforms, are part of larger set of coordinated and comprehensive initiatives that have been taken by the government, focused on the input side, introducing risk mitigation measures, reducing post-harvest losses and augmenting market and income opportunities for farmers.

 CII believes the Agriculture Marketing reforms, certainly herald a new era for agriculture and have taken care of a lot of the long-standing reform agenda. The reforms will create the right enabling environment for market and investment led agricultural growth, and increased income generation opportunities for farmers. The reforms will also give great impetus to investment in extension services to the farmers to further improve productivity and returns.

There are a host of initiatives that are already underway to build in the required resilience in the agriculture sector .The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)for instance  has focused on  extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko Pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’   while the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) scheme  provides financial support to  farmers suffering from crop losses or damages arising out of unforeseen events . To augment infrastructure and reduce post-harvest losses, the PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana focuses on creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet, creating an ecosystem for agri entrepreneurs as they focus on value addition opportunities. CII is of the view, that the recent policy interventions around Farmer Producer Organizations, Agro clusters and Agri Infrastructure Fund is creating and enabling an ecosystem for aggregation, collaboration and access to open alternate markets.

The private sector has been partnering with farmers over decades for enhancing production and productivity leveraging technology, enhancing farmer capabilities through introduction of improved varieties and Good Agricultural Practices, providing market linkages as well as farmer friendly post-harvest management solutions thus creating avenues for enhanced farmers’ incomes. In Banana for example, partnerships have been forged to improve productivity through introduction of improved varieties and Good Agricultural Practices supported by 100% buy back. Similarly, in Rice for enhancing supply chain efficiencies blockchain powered traceability solutions are being implemented to develop connected, clean, traceable and transparent supply chain thus helping improve farmers returns. Another example is chilli wherein interventions are being made on efficient advisory both on pre- and post-harvest care of high value commodities and farmer friendly post-harvest management, solutions are being deployed. For white onion export-oriented value chains have been developed in Maharashtra for improving yields, quality and incomes and there are several other such partnerships where farmers, government and industry have collaborated.

CII believes the reform process initiated will help establish a competitive marketing ecosystem where farmers enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale of agri produce through competitive alternative trading channels creating more income augmentation opportunities for farmers. This will also create opportunities for collaboration between farmers and buyers like food processors and retailers from pre-planting to post-harvest stage creating an opportunity for scaling these models further. 

“Given the need of the hour, the progressive agri marketing reforms aimed towards ‘Moving to One Nation, One Market’ are a significant step that will enable better access to markets, catalyse creation of primary processing infrastructure, improve access to technology and more importantly will help augment farmers’ incomes,” said Uday Kotak, President  CII.  

“The Agriculture Marketing reforms create an opportunity to evolve the entire Agri Supply chain into a more efficient and integrated system towards increased income generation opportunities for farmers.

The ongoing agitation is leading to a disruption in the movement of goods and labour.  Our members are seeing transit times to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi-NCR increase by up to 50%.  This will also lead to increases in logistics costs.  Many companies in the industrial belts surrounding Delhi are also facing labour shortages as people struggle to reach production facilities from neighbouring towns.  These disruptions can have an impact on the green shoots of recovery we were starting to see since COVID,” T V Narendran, President Designate, CII

“The far-sighted reforms will have a transformational impact on the agri sector by enhancing productivity, modernising infrastructure, enabling aggregation at scale and improving market access. Demonstrating CII’s strong conviction that the measures will enhance farmer incomes, it is piloting a capacity building and procurement facilitation programme covering 50 FPOs across 9 crop value-chains. The policy announcements will also enable ITC to build further on its deep engagement with millions of farmers through its e-Choupal eco-system to scale up farmer training, adoption of digital & climate smart technologies and public-private-people partnerships to support FPOs by enhancing productivity and additional market linkages. Progressively, the building of competitive agri value chains will also help boost exports of value-added products,” said Sanjiv Puri, Chairman CII National Council on Agriculture and Chairman & Managing Director, ITC Ltd

 With the reform process initiated, there is a lot of traction from industry in procurement from farm gate. In states of Karnataka, Maharashtra collection centres have been formed which are likely to see more scale in the Kharif procurement season. Companies are also evaluating scaling and expanding sourcing from FPOs.

 “With these partnerships being forged we will see reduction in wastage, increase in investment in extension services to improve productivity and returns as well as creation of on farm post-harvest infrastructure. The reform process will also give a boost to food processing sector with enhanced opportunities for strengthening and scaling micro food processing enterprises, an integral part of the agriculture sector,” said Suresh Narayanan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing and Chairman & Managing Director, Nestle India Ltd.

 “With enhanced sourcing opportunities, primary processing opportunities will be created closer to the production clusters thus helping reengineering the entire supply chain into a more efficient and integrated system. This will also help in doubling the farmers income in the shortest possible manner,” said Piruz Khambatta, Chairman and Managing Director, Rasna Pvt Ltd.

 “The recent farm laws are mainly intended to reform the agricultural markets and to create alternative channels to farmers for marketing output. They will need to be further supported by a regulatory mechanism that ensures a competitive environment and a level playing field for farmers. Coordination with various stakeholders and effective implementation hold key to the success of these reforms,” said C.S.C.Sekhar, Professor and Head, AERU, Institute of Economic Growth.

 The reform process is further supported by policy interventions around Farmer Producer Organization, Agro clusters and Agri Infrastructure Fund. Creation of 10,000 new FPOs will help empower farmers with the “economies of scale” and improve their resilience, while increasing incomes. The cluster approach will again help augment scale of production. The creation of the Agri Infrastructure fund will help build community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure.

 “Long waited Farm Reforms along with FDI, will enable agriculture economy grow beyond 5%. The crisis of low productivity, huge wastages, negligible value and rain fed farming has impacted farmers for decades. The progressive reforms will enable investments with modern technologies and management expertise in rural areas and will benefit by way of creating huge employment, assured price and access to extension and other services. It will enable market quality produce with traceability. Farm sector rejuvenation will be implemented in association with industry and services sectors with a win- win situation. They will be steppingstone for permanently resolving 700 Million farmers from distress, ” said P. Chengal Reddy, Advocate & Chief Adviser, Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations

There are several value chain specific examples where in private sector partnerships have already been helping farmers.

The farmer industry partnerships will also be facilitated under the national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with private sector in a fair and transparent manner. A deeper engagement between the farmers and industry will help in guiding the farmers align the crop varieties, quality, farm management practices, based on market needs. The partnerships will also scale uptake of advanced technology in agriculture and new investments prospects are already gaining traction. For example, Start-ups are already looking at leveraging the reform process to develop innovative models and technology solutions for farms in the near future more so as the reforms are expected to create a ripple effect across sectors, including logistics, food technology and other agri-related industries.

 “The Agriculture trade promotion and facilitation Act will help farmers do barrier free trade across the country without any hitch on permit, cess, entry tax etc. In fact, our state has amended free trade within the state long back and now farmers and traders will be waived of the Market cess and commissions that gives good relief to them. The apprehensions raised on MSP have been cleared by our PM and there is clarity that the procurement and support price will continue. The Act on Contract Farming enables even the FPOs and farmer groups to enter into an agreement with the buyer and creates opportunity for assured incomes. In short anew renaissance is on the anvil to farmers and farming sector in India,” said AP Karuppaiah, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Banana Producer Company Ltd. and G. Ajeethan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Banana Producer Company Ltd.

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