Agri Business

Farm experts hail TN’s first agriculture budget, call on other States to follow

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on August 30, 2021

Separate budget for farming could help promote Indian agriculture through targeted programmes

The Tamil Nadu government’s first ever agriculture budget has been lauded by farming experts who feel that it should be replicated in other States as well to ensure better utilisation of funds and marketing strategies and to offset the uncertainties in agricultural productivity through effective planning.

Despite a continuously declining share in GDP, agriculture continues to be the livelihood source for the majority, and it employs over 60 per cent of the country’s workforce. A separate budget for farming could help promote the growth rate of the Indian agriculture sector through targeted programmes, says P Indira Devi, Director, Kerala Farmers Welfare Board.

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Indian farmers are generally scattered, illiterate and often lack a forum to raise their voice unlike players in the industrial and the service sector. A separate budget may create an opportunity, especially for small and marginal farmers, to design programmes to suit their requirements.

Quoting the Situation Assessment Survey, she said that nearly 40 per cent of the practising farmers in India wish to quit farming. “Unless this issue is properly addressed, the future of Indian agriculture can be dismal,” she said.

Boost to allied sectors

Indira Devi, who is also the former Director of Research in Kerala Agricultural University, said that major reforms in agricultural research and extension systems could also be included in the separate budget to propel growth in the farming sector.

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PC Cyriac, president of Indian Farmers Movement (Infam), pointed out that the high priority given by Tamil Nadu government to agriculture would facilitate implementation of various schemes in farming and allied sectors such as dairying, fisheries and agro industry.

“A State like Kerala which is always behind the clock in implementing schemes will do well to follow the Tamil Nadu pattern at least to ensure their faster completion”, he said.

According to Sivadas Menon, chairman of Sterling Group of Companies, the allotment of more than ₹34,000 crore by Tamil Nadu for agriculture and efforts taken by the other two southern States such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh will help meet the growing demand for quality food in the country and reduce dependence on imports.

Kerala, with less than 10 per cent budget allocation for agriculture, should emulate the neighbours by giving more thrust to the sector, he said.

Published on August 30, 2021

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