Agri Business

Farming, allied activities to resume on April 20

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

Centre issues fresh guidelines on lockdown relaxation for vital sectors

Agriculture and allied sectors such as livestock and fisheries will be allowed to function with the partial lifting of lockdown on April 20, it was announced by the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday.

Apart from allowing farmers and farm workers to work in the field, the revised guidelines issued for the extended lockdown period said agencies involved in procurement, agricultural mandis, manufacturing units as well as shops selling farm inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertiliser can function with adherence to social distancing and other norms prescribed the Union Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Reduced workforce

The decision to allow custom hiring centres that lease farm machinery and intra-State and inter-State movement of sowing and harvesting equipment will help farmers carry on with rabi harvest as well as sowing operations for the coming kharif season. However, farmers growing plantation crops such as tea, coffee and rubber may have to make do with 50 per cent workforce. Similarly, those industries engaged in processing, packaging and marketing of these plantation crops can only be run with 50 per cent manpower.

The livestock sector is also expected to return to normalcy with the guidelines relaxing most activities related to dairying, livestock rearing, hatcheries and animal feed industry. Apart from allowing milk collection and processing, the entire supply chain leading up to distribution and sale of milk in cities will be freed up totally from April 20.

Fisheries sector

Also getting the green signal is the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Apart from inland and marine fisheries, aquaculture farms, hatcheries, processing plants, aquaculture feed industry, and cold chain to transport fish produce will be relaxed from April 20 onwards, according to the guidelines.

Meanwhile,Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday launched All India Agri Transport Call Centre numbers 18001804200 and 14488 for facilitating smooth intra-State and inter-State movement of perishable farm produce such as vegetables and fruits.

Published on April 15, 2020

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