Industry experts have come up with a list of suggestions for the Budget FY 2021-22 in which they have asked the government to provide additional funds as well as incentives to promote indigenous farm research, oilseeds production, food processing and organic farming for the overall growth of the agriculture sector.
Considering the financial condition of the farmers, they also said that the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme should be utilised more to support them instead of giving subsidies.
DCM Shriram Chairman and Senior MD Ajay Shriram said, “food processing industry has played an important role in better price realisation for the farmer and reducing the cost of intermediaries. The budget must provide special incentives to food processing through incentives such as interest subvention, lower taxes, access to technology and so on.”
Referring to the successful PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 6,000 is paid annually directly into farmers bank accounts, he said the DBT mechanism should be fine-tuned and gradually should be utilized to support farmers in lieu of other subsidies.
“Let the farmer decide how to judicially use the money. With the benefit of DBT, farmers can then buy better seed, use new-age fertilizers, optimize water usage and so on,” Shriram said.
Stating that many Indian startups have invested in the agri-technology space, he advocated for a policy that encourages growth of these companies and adoption of latest techniques. He said there has not been any significant breakthrough in recent years from indigenous agricultural research and development (R&D) and this could be partly on account of resource crunch.
“Two areas that need immediate attention are firstly linking agricultural research with industry requirements and secondly avoiding ideological resistance to new-age technologies such GM crops,” Shriram said.
Keeping up the trend, consulting firm Deloitte India too suggested that more funds should be allocated for research and development as well as for increasing the domestic production of oilseeds to reduce imports of cooking oils.
Stating that livestock farming is one of the key pillars for augmenting farmers’ income, Deloitte India said one of the big impediments for development of this sector is the prevalence of various diseases that affect mortality, productivity, and overall production.
Therefore, it requires supply of vaccines. At the Deloitte it said, “supply is not adequate to address the increasing demand. Funding for developing vaccines and creating necessary infrastructure would be required in this budget.”
Chirag Arora, Founder, Organisch Overseas, said the government must encourage farmers to adopt organic farming.
“The need of the hour is to encourage the private sector into space by offering tax incentives to startups venturing into this domain. It also needs to augment investment on creation of cold-chains and increase storage capabilities,” Arora said.