As governments have been very sensitive and supportive on agriculture operations, the momentum is likely to be maintained with good procurements and kharif sowing, according to industry representatives and stakeholders.

“This is peak agriculture season, and the Central government has been extraordinarily supportive of not allowing anything affect the agri operations. They are working with every State government despite some practical difficulties at the ground level, which are bound to be there. Also, every State government is trying to manage with their own efforts,” said Mallika Srinivasan, Chairman & Managing Director of leading tractor company TAFE.

“As far as agri inputs are concerned, we would like to keep the momentum going. This period is very critical for the farming community. We have had really good rabi crops and are looking forward to procurement going in full speed. The government is also extending support to the procurement process in a timely manner and augmenting it with some temporary storage facilities, as existing storages are full,” she added.

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Meanwhile, TAFE has also mobilised a huge number of tractors across three States for making them available on a rental basis to the farming community free of cost for three months.

During the announcement of stimulus measures on Friday, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das stated that pre-monsoon kharif sowing had begun strongly on April 10, with acreage of paddy — the principal kharif crop — up by 37 per cent in comparison with the last season.

Agricultural activity

States such as West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh are leading in sowing activity despite the lockdown. The robust growth of 21.3 per cent in tractor sales up to February 2020 — as against a contraction of 0.5 per cent in April-February last year — may provide an offset to farm labour shortages on account of the lockdown, he had said.

Also, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers DV Sadananda Gowda said the Department of Fertilizers was closely monitoring and reviewing the production and distribution activities of fertilisers in the country. Interventions from the highest level in the Department are ensuring the required availability of fertilisers to farmers across India.

Also, there is complete coordination with various agencies at the Centre and the State/UT administration to ensure adequate fertiliser availability, he said.

The Tamil Nadu government has activated its agriculture department and officials to help the farming community during this crisis. It has shared agri scientists’ details across States to extend help to the farming community in the areas of sowing, disease attack and seeds and inputs.

During this lockdown period, there was no significant impact on agri inputs as it was classified as essential by the Centre and States. With the latest announcements, the entire agri value chain has been covered under the exemptions.