Indian agriculture is currently undergoing a significant transformation due to remarkable accomplishments of the Modi government, said BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao while releasing a report on Wednesday by a farmers’ body that highlighted several “achievements” of the government.

Over the past decade, India consistently achieved a growth rate of 4 per cent in the agriculture sector and this momentum will only accelerate in the coming years, Rao said adding “previously it used to be 0-1 per cent.”

With the projected annual population growth rate of 2.5 per cent, the country is poised to not only meet its own food requirements but also have surplus produce for export to global markets, he said.

According to the report — ‘Transformation of India’s Agriculture’ — prepared by the Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), the number of start-ups in agriculture and allied sectors has increased to over 7,000 in last nine years whereas there were less than 50 start-ups in agriculture and allied sectors before 2014-15.

The increase has been possible due to a conducive business environment and government support, the report said. The report also commended the government’s decade-long efforts, acknowledging a comprehensive approach that has borne fruit.

“The strides made by the government in the agriculture sector and for farmers are commendable. Efforts are being tirelessly invested in augmenting farmer income and ensuring their security,” FAIFA president Javare Gowda said and added that India’s ‘Annadata’ are now feeding the nation and the world.

During the nine years, there has been a 300 per cent jump in budget allocation for agriculture — from ₹21,933.50 crore during BE 2013-14 to ₹1,24,000 crore during BE 2022-23, the report said.

As the performance of the agriculture sector remains critical to growth and employment in the country, investment in the sector must be encouraged through an affordable, timely and inclusive approach to credit delivery, the report has recommended.

Key schemes

Highlighting government’s interventions through schemes like PM Kisan (for income support), PM Fasal Bima Yojana and easy finance access to machines and tools through Kisan Credit Cards, the report said that focus on the horticulture sector and the thrust towards allied activities have diversified farmers’ income making them more resilient to weather shocks.

“A greater focus on the development of the food processing sector can reduce wastage/loss and increase the length of storage, ensuring better prices for the farmers. The initiatives like e-NAM and the Promotion of formation of FPOs have been introduced to strengthen the agricultural market. With the interventions including PMKSY, PMFME, PLI, etc, attempts have been made to boost the food processing industries to harness its linkages with the agriculture sector.

“A well-developed food processing sector with improved infrastructure like cold storage and better logistics helps reduce wastage, improve value addition, ensure better farmers’ returns, promote employment, and increase export earnings,” it said.