The Centre plans to create a $6-billion corpus (₹43,500 crore) to strengthen logistics in animal husbandry, dairy and food processing sectors as part of its efforts to connect the farmgate to newer markets, a senior government official said today.
Ministry of Agriculture’s National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ashok Dalwai, addressing the Global Castor Conference 2021 organised by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), the Union government’s agricultural policies to create free and open markets supported by measures to strengthen the farmers hand.
“Our focus is to simultaneously provide an environment for every stakeholder including corporate to strengthen agri-logistics. For the first time, we are now realising the importance of agri-logistics,” said Dalwai.
He highlighted the new avenues that the government has created for farmers in terms of electronic national warehouse receipt system (eNWRS) enabling farmers to store agri produce in authorised warehouses and access the institutional credit at a concessional rate of interest.
“So, the farmer would be able to wait for the glut in the market to get over and sell after two or three months when the markets are likely to be more buoyant. Our focus is to offer the farmer post harvest loans at a concessional rate of interest so that he is able to strengthen himself as an equal partner or equal stakeholder vis-a-vis private or corporate player,” the NRAA CEO said. He said the Centre was keen on making India the agri producer for the world. With an agricultural area of 141 million hectares and diverse agro-climatic conditions with diverse soil systems, India enjoyed an advantage.
Hinting that the Government was keen to encourage farm production with a targeted markets of consumer segment as well as industries, Dalwai said that the government was working on an improved/ liberalised export policy with ease of doing business and harmonised standards to meet global standards for different commodities.
Process of change
Admitting that Indian agriculture was undergoing a basic foundational change and that during the process of change, there would be disruptions, and therefore some resistance. “The cosy comfort of many stakeholders will be disturbed. So, we would need to adopt change management as efficiently as possible,” added Dalwai.
India’s agriculture policies were focused on post-harvest management, the NRAA CEO said. As part of this, the Centre will spend ₹1-lakh crore or (approx $13 billion) over the next four years as part of its efforts to provide impetus to post-harvest management logistics capacities in the country, he said.