Lauding the Budget announcements, the agri input makers are keen to collaborate with the public entities in various programmes announced by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman to make farming more resilient.
“The agri input Industry is looking forward to participating in the Public-Private Partnership for enhancing productivity of cotton crop” said Sanjiv Lal MD & CEO, Rallis India.
“Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program” and “Global Hub for Millets: Shree Anna” will further boost India’s global leadership position in this crop segments and Industry is eager to participate in these programmes, Lal said. The budget announcement of “Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres”, is well aligned with global developments and will go a long way in developing a science-based ecosystem for promoting biological solutions which is getting greater attention globally. “These interventions, along with Sahakaar Se Samruudhi, Saptarishi Plan, Agriculture Accelerator Fund, will make farming and the agri sector more resilient,”
Ram Kaundinya, Director General, Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) said the project on extra long staple cotton is a step in the right direction. “We are currently producing only 25 per cent of our requirement of 2 million bales and the balance is being imported. We believe that a large level of research investment is needed as a part of this project in which the private sector and ICAR can work together and develop high yielding hybrids with ELS and other fibre characteristics. Germplasm plays a key role in this and both the sectors should come forward to share germplasm in this project. Farmers will grow more of ELS Cotton if they find it high yielding and profitable.” Kaundinya said.
An allocation of ₹2,200 cr towards supplying disease-free and high quality horticultural planting material is being lauded as a very good project. Investments are required in enhancing research and high quality production systems in both fruits and vegetables. “Under this project if specific crops are identified and targeted for improvement the seed industry will be very happy to collaborate with ICAR and the government on this,” Kaundinya said, adding that private sector seed industry is already involved in a big way with millet breeding, seed production and promotion among farmers.
However, FSII is disappointed that there has been no announcement of support to enhance research in seeds and technology. “We represented for restoration of the 200 per cent income tax deduction of the research expenditure of seed industry. In order to face the challenges of climate change, natural resource depletion, newly emerging pests and diseases and stagnant yields research investments have to be stepped up by the private industry. We were expecting some incentivisation of such investments which did not happen,” Kaundinya added.
SK Chaudhary, Founder Director, Safex Chemicals India Ltd said, “The 2023-24 Union Budget has many positive features for agriculture and agri industries. The decision to build digital public infrastructure for agriculture as an open standard, open source and inter-operable public good is commendable since it will help the industry, pan-India. This would facilitate multiple inclusive, farmer-centric solutions with relevant information services spanning crop planning, farm inputs, insurance, credit and market intelligence as well as support for the growth of the agri-tech segment and start-ups.”
Deepak Aggarwal, Co-Founder, Moneyboxx, said, “We welcome the decision of increasing the Agriculture Credit Target to ₹20 lakh crore while focusing on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. Moreover, a new sub-scheme of the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana will be launched with a targeted investment of ₹6,000 crore. Another good measure to extend the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs along with an infusion of ₹9,000 crore with effect from April 1 is a most welcome move as it will facilitate additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of ₹2 lakh crore for MSMEs. Significantly, the scheme will nudge banks to lend to MSMEs, which they were earlier reluctant to do so because of the absence of adequate collateral. This will lower the cost of credit by around 1 per cent and benefit the fund-starved segment.”
Ram Iyer, Founder and CEO, Vayana Network said “Investments in development of public digital infrastructure for agriculture, facilitating data embassies in GIFT City, expanding the use of Digi Locker and setting up National Financial Information repository signal towards the continued focus on digitisation and broadening its access to the public. Revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs is a significant move to support MSMEs which have been battered by Covid related disruptions. The infusion of ₹9,000 crore into the corpus would undoubtedly benefit small business owners.
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