Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:1 (January , 2017)

INDEX

- ISAP Activities

Conferences & Exhibitions

Science & Technology

Prominent Contributors to Agriculture

Do you know

- News Highlights

ISAP FILE

ISAP, the parent body of IAP, which also started as an electronic group in 2001, achieved the following highlights since then:
  • ISAP group and page on Facebook and Linkedin cater to more than 100,000 professionals on a daily basis with thousands of posts every month and answers to a huge number of queries and interactions generated through these platforms.
  • Reached 1500 villages, 250 blocks, 100 districts in 18 states
  • Touched and transformed lives of 5 lakh Indian farming families
  • Provided Entrepreneurship Development training to 5000 agri-graduates and incubated 1783 successful ventures
  • Trained 10000 BPL rural youth on vocational skills and helped them gain meaningful livelihoods.
  • Certified 467 agri-graduates under India Crop Certified Adviser Program
  • Satisfactorily answered more than 6 lakh farmer queries through Kisan Call Centres (KCC) in Bhopal (MP) and Gulbarga (Karnataka)
  • Successfully established two 100 bedded rural hospitals in West Bengal
  • Successfully running multi-seater health helpline in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Set up 36 water treatment plants for village drinking water supply schemes in various states
  • Successfully running Community Radio Station "Kissan Vani" in Sironj,district Vidisha (M.P.)
  • Created more than 100 Farmer Producer Companies owned by 100,000 farmers across India

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ISAP Activities

OCPF-AES Project, Karnataka


In phase I, the OCPF-AES project started as a soil health improvement and yield enhancement program. In a span of four years, the project culminated into institutionalization of the project farmers into Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and integration of these FPOs into the existing market value chain. In the phase I, ISAP formed seven FPOs in the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur. In phase II, emphasis was largely on making these FPOs sustainable through market integration, infrastructure support and convergence with various schemes.

Monthly Update :-

NAFED is making procurement of the red gram through FPOs promoted under the OCPF-AES project at Minimum Support Price (MSP). The market price of red gram is around INR 4,500-4600/- per quintal against MSP of INR 5050/- per quintal for red gram. In addition to that, farmers are getting INR 450/- per quintal as a bonus from the Karnataka State government.

Lots of dignitaries have also visited the project area in the month of January to see the transformation happening in this region through FPO model. Few eminent people who visited the project area include Dr. Ayyappan (Former Director General of ICAR) , Dr. Ramesh Chand (the member of NITI Ayogya), and Mr. B. Rajendran (Joint Secretary. Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India).

Former Director General, ICAR, Dr. Ayyappan visited Gulbarga and met some innovative farmers. Mr. Gundappa, an IFS farmer from Pattan village is practicing sericulture, poultry, horticulture and agriculture crops namely chickpea, red gram, wheat and paddy on a single piece of land. He also has a vermi-compost unit, farm pond and gobar gas unit.

A field visit by Dr. Ayyappan at Gulbarga



Mr. Basavraj Jewanagi is an innovative farmer who cultivates papaya on a large scale (50 acres) with drip irrigation facility. He has also grown ginger and garlic crops in a laser leveled land.



A field visit by Dr. Ayyappan at Gulbarga



After meeting the farmers, Dr. Ayyappan visited Afzhalpur AVRC and watched red gram bulk procurement from the Karnataka Farmers Maha Society and cucumber fields. He then visited the Goat Resource Centre and chickpea field at Kamalapur, Anthappanal.

A visit at Afzhalpur AVRC and red gram bulk procurement fields

Dr. Ramesh Chand, member of NITI Ayogya visited Afzhalpur AVRC and watched red gram bulk procurement from NAFED through the Karnataka Farmers Maha Society. He also visited Gurulingappa Meldoddi’s red gram field and inaugurated the Red gram field day at Hudugi, Humnabad.


A visit by Dr. Ramesh Chand at Afzhalpur AVRC and inauguration of Red gram field day at Hudugi


Also, our Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. B. Rajendran visited ISAP’s IFS farmers’ AVRC project where the FPO is doing procurement of red gram at Gulbarga district, Karnataka.


A visit by Joint Secretary Mr. B. Rajendran at AVRC project of IFS framers red gram procurement fields at Gulbarga district, Karnataka


OCPF-IFS Project, Rajasthan

ISAP is working with small and marginalized farmers in Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur districts of Rajasthan through the OCPF-IFS project. Key interventions are being made to increase productivity of field crops, vegetables and fruits through implementation of advanced crop production technologies, integrated farming practices, resource conservation (like watershed harvesting management) and generating in-farm resources (like vermi-compost and bio-pesticides).

Efforts are being made to strengthen the FPOs through linkages to marketing and value chain stakeholders. Agri Village Resource Centers (AVRCs) have been established in all six operational blocks of the project to provide a common platform for the FPOs to run enterprises. These have been provided with tractors, farm machinery, warehouse, net house for nursery, vermi-compost pit, medical dispensary, children’s play zone, and a large platform for drying and winnowing of the farmers’ produce.


Monthly Update :-

Training on Crop Management

In the month of January, three trainings have been organized, one at each of the AVRCs: Anta, Kisanganj and Hindoli. The participant farmers were educated on the various components of crop management, especially wheat, mustard and chickpeas of the current Rabi season. Under the area of AVRC, Anta and Kishanganj, the farmers have undertaken wheat seed production program. These trainings helped them to understand the importance of roughing for producing quality seeds.

The farmers training programs on Crop Management at AVRCs: Anta, Kisanganj and Hindoli


The Exposure Visits to Surat, Nashik and Jalgaon

The Board of Directors and promoters along with five selected progressive farmers from each of the six FPOs from Rajasthan project area and 12 farmers from Haryana were taken for the exposure visits and cross-learning to Surat, Nashik and Jalgaon during 18–22 January, 2017.

In Surat, the farmers visited Dhruva organization at Lachhakadi village, Navsari district. Mr. M.D. Sapate (In-charge of FPO) made detailed presentation about the interventions of the organization. The farmers visited food processing units where value addition, processing and packaging activities were carried out.

In Nashik, the farmers visited Sahyadri farms that is a 100% farmer owned, professionally managed company based in Nashik, Maharashtra. The farmers learnt about the systems of aggregation, processing and marketing of various fruits and vegetables, and also visited the processing units.

In Jalgaon, the farmers visited Jain Irrigations Ltd. to understand the various approaches of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, solar water pumps, food processing units, preparation of manure from processing wastes and tissue culture plants unit.

The exposure visits and cross learning sessions of the farmers at Surat, Nashik and Jalgaon


SFAC-sponsored Projects

ISAP has been delegated the responsibility of setting up 54 FPOs by the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). ISAP has to set up these FPOs in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. Each FPO will comprise 1000 farmers. Objectives of the project are:

• Strengthening the farmers’ competence through training programs, exposure visits and demonstration of best agricultural and allied practices.
• Increasing marketing opportunities for output marketing via collective action and increasing linkage of the producer groups to fair and remunerative markets.
• Increasing marketing opportunities for output marketing via collective action and increasing linkage of the producer groups to fair and remunerative markets.

Monthly Activities: (Karnataka)

An Exposure Visit to Erode

In the month of January, two groups were taken to Erode at the Erode Precision Farmers Producer Company. It was a one-day exposure visit by the groups. The purpose of the visit was to make ISAP’s FPO directors understand the ground reality and challenges FPOs face while carrying out different business activities till they reach a stable stage. The FPO had taken up multiple activities according to the requirement of its member farmers. Some of the activities are listed below:

• Oil pump station (Indian Oil Corporation Limited, IOCL).
• Retail shop, named as “Unnatham Uzavar Angadi” (FPC Bazaar).
• Processing unit for coconut oil, groundnut oil.
• Agro centre which is covering the local farmers’ demand for fertilizer, pesticides and seeds.

IMG-20170104-WA0068.jpg

The Board of Directors Training Programme


The main learning the FPO directors obtained is as follows:

• The multiple businesses FPO can take up at various stages.
• Importance of contribution of each director for the success of FPO.
• The importance of documentation and account keeping.
• To develop small business plans on their own for the member farmers at initial level.

FPOs that were visited are at very initial stage and as a consequence of the visit they could understand the holistic approach of the Farmers Producer Company.

The LRP Training and Sericulture:

On 7th January 2017, at KVK Gulbarga, a one-day training for the Local Resource Persons (LRPs) was arranged. The training was conducted by ISAP Coordinators. Along with that, a small session was taken up by the CEO of the Neglayogi Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, Alnad. In total, 35 LRPs of 7 FPOs participated in the training.

The objective of the training was to explain the LRPs, the concept of Farmers Producer Company. During the training, the LRPs were given elaborate knowledge about the following concepts:

• Promotion and formation of the Farmers Interest Group (FIG).
• Importance of capacity building of the FIG.
• Selection of the lead farmers of the FIG.
• Maintain the documents of FIG.
• Share collection from the farmers and bank opening details.

IMG-20170111-WA0021.jpg IMG-20170126-WA0015.jpg

The Local Resource Persons training at KVK Gulbarga


 

Project SHARE

This is the second phase of the project Sustainable Harvest Agriculture Resources and Environment (SHARE)

The project will augment yields of 30,000 farmers across eight districts of Maharashtra (Amravati, Akola, Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Washim, Jalna and Aurangabad) and three districts of Telangana (Nizamabad, Asifabad and Adilabad). This is being done sustainably through input–output management, capacity building of the farmers, imparting best package of practices through creation of demonstrations/model plots, creating water harvesting structures, facilitating market linkages and aggregating them into sustainable Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) engaged in profitable agri business operations. The project will also impart trainings to the lead farmers on Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) through promotion of livestock rearing, raising of horticultural crops and vermi-composting.

The project will engage 30,000 farmers from 30 blocks and about 400 villages from the respective states of Maharashtra and Telangana which will be mobilized into 30 new FPOs. The project will also create 600 women Self-Help Groups, engaging over 6000 rural women and imparting skill development trainings for engaging them in small scale business enterprises.

Monthly Activities:

During the month of January, two FPOs have been registered at Arni and Bhivapur blocks of Yavatmal and Nagpur districts, respectively. Registration of other FPOs is in progress in both the states, Maharashtra and Telengana. Farmer trainings were another major activity during the last month. The topics covered were Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), like use of organic inputs, use of improved agricultural equipments and soil testing.

Farmer Training in Jalna district, Maharashtra

Farmer Training in Nizamabad district, Telangana


Agri-clinic and Agri-business Program

ISAP is running an Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) in 11 states under the aegis of MANAGE. Under this program, training is provided to unemployed agriculture and allied sector graduates. After the training, ISAP provides active hand-holding support to these trained agripreneurs for setting up their own business ventures. ISAP has so far trained 5608 agripreneurs in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Jharkhand, J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Out of these, around 1824 agripreneurs have established their independent businesses successfully. We share one such success story with our readers in each ISAP newsletter.

A Success Story

Baria V. Videshbhai (Gujarat)

‘’Don’t wait for the opportunity, create it.’’ says Baria V. Videshbhai, who is an agricultural graduate and lives in Navapur village of Bodeli taluka in Chhotaudepur district of Gujarat. Baria V. Videshbhai was born in a lower middle class family and his parents were mainly dependent on farming activities for earning their livelihood. This made him realize the hard work involved in agriculture at an early age. After completing his senior secondary exams, he wanted to pursue a career which could help him in remaining connected to his roots along with earning his livelihood. He, therefore, opted for graduating in agricultural sciences.

While graduating in the university, Baria V. Videshbhai heard from one of his professors and also from his seniors at his college about MANAGE’s Agriclinic and Agribusiness Center’s (ACABC) course conducted by ISAP. Baria V. Videshbhai wanted to start his entrepreneurship venture right after completing his graduation and, therefore, met Mr. Dilip Patel, the Nodal officer of ISAP in Vadodara to have a clear view on the course contents of ACABC and how this course could help him in taking few steps closer to his entrepreneurial dream. “Meeting Mr. Dilip kindled the confidence in me to go ahead with this course and I joined the ACABC programme with two months duration at the Vadodara center of ISAP in the month of July, 2016,” says Baria V. Videshbhai. “After completing this course, I arranged for funds with the help of my parents and friends, and started a small custom hiring center of farm machineries in my village”.

“I choose to start the custom hiring business of farm machines, as I felt a need of such kind of concept in my village, especially for the small and marginal farmers. I feel that in the present time the average land holding among the farmers have decreased than what it used to be a decade before. Along with it other factors like nutrient content of soil, reduction in ground water availability and climatic factors like irregular rains have negatively impacted the yield obtained by the farmers,’’ says Baria V. Videshbhai.

According to Baria V. Videshbhai, through his business initiative he has helped around 60 farmers of his village by making agriculture mechanization accessible to them without making them invest in the purchase of these machines. He rents his agricultural implements both for agriculture and haulage purposes. Baria V. Videshbhai earns around Rs. 20,000/= per month through the farm machinery hiring business. The good thing about him is that he not only generates an income for himself, but also helps the farmers in his area in obtaining better income through improving their yield by the use of agriculture mechanization.

ISAP wishes Baria V. Videshbhai all the best for his future endeavors.

Baria V. Videshbhai can be contacted on +91-8469407774.

Baria V. Videshbhai with his tractor at Navapur village of Bodeli taluka, Chhotaudepur district, Gujarat

The Skill Training Program for Tractor Operator and Mechanic – New Holland India

ISAP has initiated a skill training program in Tractor Operator and Mechanic in Maharashtra and Karnataka, funded by New Holland India. The main objective of the program is to prepare rural youth for improved livelihoods by making them skilled and employable in the Farm Mechanization Sector. There is a gap of trained tractor operators and tractor mechanics in rural areas of India, and this project will be focusing on bridging that gap. The goal of this program is to increase access to livelihood and income among the unemployed youth through skill development. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 160 people. Each training course is for 70 days, including 40 days of classroom training and 30 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machinery and equipment. For the trainees, the training is free of cost and a non-residential training program.

Monthly Activities:-

Currently, this program is being implemented in Gulbarga (Karnataka) and Nagpur (Maharashtra). Till now, we have trained 132 candidates in both the locations. Out of these, 97 candidates are placed in various organizations and placement of remaining candidates is in process.

We have started the final batch of training program at Nagpur, Maharashtra, on 1st December, 2016 with the strength of 30 candidates.


The Skill Training Program in Nagpur, Maharashtra



‘Hunar’ Skills Training Program and IFS - John Deere

ISAP and Global Communities have initiated the Hunar Skills Program in Dharwad region, Karnataka; Bhopal region, Madhya Pradesh; and Nagpur/Akola region, Maharashtra. This program is funded by John Deere India. The main objective of this program is to provide training on operations and maintenance of tractors and combines, as a means to improve livelihoods and increase qualified labor force in remote markets. Each training course is for 45 days, including 30 days of classroom training and 15 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machinery and equipment. For the trainees, the training is free of cost and a full residential training program with lodging and boarding arrangements. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 720 individuals. Apart from this, the program also aims to improve agricultural productivity by introducing Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) in rural Indian markets by providing training on IFS to 1,350 farmers.

Monthly Activities:-

“Hunar” Skills Program was inaugurated on 1st March, 2016 at Akola, Maharashtra, and at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on April, 2016 and on 4th May, 2016 in Dharwad district of Karnataka. Till now 240 candidates have been trained at all the three locations. We also started a new batch in Tractor Mechanic domain on 9th January, 2017 at Dharwad, Karnataka with the strength of 30 candidates. We have also started a new batch in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in Tractor Operator Domain with the strength of 25 candidates.


Hunar Training Program at Dharwad, Karnataka



IEX - Hunar Training Program

ISAP has initiated Hunar Training Program in ‘Solar Energy Technician’ in Samastipur district of Bihar, funded by ‘India Energy Exchange’. The main objective of the program is to prepare the youth for improved livelihoods by making them skilled and employable in the Solar Energy Sector. There is a gap of trained Solar Energy Technicians in Bihar, and this project will be focusing on bridging that gap. The goal of this program is to increase access to livelihood and income among the unemployed youth through skill development. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 175 people. Each training course is for 60 days, including 45 days of classroom training and 15 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machinery and equipment. For the trainees, the training is free of cost and a non-residential training program.

Monthly Activities:-

We have completed training of three batches on 14th January, 2017 with the strength of 84 candidates in Solar Energy Technician domain and placement of the candidates is in process.

IEX - Hunar Training Program at Samastipur, Bihar



SAAHAJ MPC-Awareness Programmes

SAAHAJ Milk Producer Company initiated an awareness program, funded by World Bank and supported by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The program's objective was to improve the penetration and effective functioning of the SAAHAJ MPC, through capacity-building of the farmers. The program is further categorized into Producers Awareness Program, Clean Milk Production Program, and Women Awareness Program.

In the initial phase of the project, the emphasis was more on capacity building of the existing shareholders/member farmers of SAAHAJ MPC. Gradually, the focus moved on to encourage potential members to purchase the shares of SAAHAJ MPC.

Last month, the given target was accomplished within the time frame. Following is the data of participants per program which have been accomplished within the specified time frame of July, 2016 to January, 2017:

Sr. No.

Programme

No. of Participants

1

Producer Awareness Program

67191

2

Awareness Program on quality and clean milk production

67157

3

Women’s Awareness Program

45089

 

Grand Total

179437

The training programs included topics disseminating information on benefits of becoming SAAHAJ MPC members, improved feed and health practices for the animals, maintaining the quality of milk produce, supply of quality milk to the MPC regularly to avail maximum benefits, importance of clean milk production, factors/reasons affecting quality of milk (breeding and feeding) and explaining the disadvantages of milk adulteration. In addition to the above, Women Awareness Programs (WAP) covered the social issues like dealing with restrictive social norms, sources of getting information and persons to be contacted for help.

The trainings were conducted in the villages of 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh, namely Agra, Aligarh, Hathras, Etah, Mainpuri, Etawah, J.P. Nagar, Badaun, Moradabad and Firozabad. Around 56 trainers were associated with ISAP during this project.

Capacity building training at Dharwar MPP, Etawah district

Capacity building training at Chhabra MPP, Chandausi district



MIDH, Haryana – A Mega Expo for the Farmers:

Department of Horticulture, Haryana has celebrated its “Swarna Jayanti” by organizing Mega Expo at Center of Excellence for Vegetables, Gharuanda at Karnal for two days. In the Expo, three major events have been organized simultaneously for vegetables, mushroom and honey. The main objective of the expo was to demonstrate latest technologies in the field and to upgrade them as per the farmer’s requirement.

In this regard, ISAP and four Farmer Producer Companies from Bhiwani, Sirsa, Jind and Kaithal, that are promoted under MIDH, Haryana participated and put their stalls in exhibition. Exhibition was started with inaugural ceremony on 17th December, where Shri. Om Prakash Dhankar (Chief Guest, the Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare), Mr. Arjun Singh Saini (MD, SFACH), Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi (Principal Secretary, Govt. Haryana) were invited. Ten farmers from each FPC participated in the exhibition and Certificate of Participation has been given to FPC from Bhiwani, Sirsa, Jind and Kaithal.



Capacity building training at Dharwar MPP, Etawah district

Capacity building training at Chhabra MPP, Chandausi district



Science & Technology:

Agricultural Drones: Six Ways of Improvement in Productivity

Image result for Drone used in agriculture

Agricultural drones are becoming a tool with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities. The farmers can use it to develop new ways to manage their crops from sowing to harvesting. The six ways to improve productivity using agricultural drones are:

Field and soil analysis: Drones can be instrumental in studying and getting data by drone-driven early soil analysis. They can capture precise 3D maps from the fields for early soil analysis that can be useful in planning seed planting patterns. After planting new crops, drone-driven soil analysis can provide data for the analysis of soil.

Planting: Drone-planting systems can decrease planting cost by 85 per cent. These systems photograph the plant nutrients in the soil, thus providing plants with all the nutrients essential for their sustainable growth.

Assessment of health: It is essential to assess crop health and spot bacteria, fungus or pest infestations that are not possible to judge with naked eye. By scanning a crop using both visible and near-infrared light, drone-carrier devices can identify which plants reflect different amounts of green light and NIR light. The information obtained by multispectral images tracks the changes that have occurred in plants and indicate their health.

Supervision of crops: Finally, a drone can survey the field every moment keeping a watch on it. A time-series animation can be created that can show changes in the crops using imageries, exposing the troubled spots and leading to the opportunities for better crop management.

Spraying Liquids over the crops: Ultrasonic echoing and lasers equipments measure the distance using light-detection and ranging or LiDAR method. This enables drones to adjust the altitude in varying topographic and geographic regions. Thus, drones can scan the ground and spray the fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides in required amount by adjusting distance. Thus, with increased efficiency to judge the required amount of liquids saves the crops from excess chemical damage and also saves the environment from pollution of excess chemicals.

Irrigation of crops: Drones can be fitted with airborne cameras with various sensors like thermal, hyperspectral and multispectral sensors. These sensors can detect which part of the field is dry. They can be used to calculate the vegetation index, which describes the relative density and health of the crop. The drones can find the heat signature, the amount of energy and the heats transmitted by the crops, and thus can find the proper irrigation time of the crops.


Source: technologyreview


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

Sir Albert Howard

Sir Albert Howard (1873–1947) is often referred to as the father of modern organic agriculture. He noted the relationship between the rise and the fall of civilizations and their agricultural practices. In 1905, with his wife Gabrielle, he began work as an agricultural advisor in Indore, India. There he observed the methods of cultivation adopted by the local farmers and peasants. It was there that he learned and began promoting composting methods that returned nutrients to the soil. He went on to document and develops organic farming techniques, and he spread his knowledge through the UK-based Soil Association, and the Rodale Institute in the U.S. His 1940 book "An Agricultural Testament" is a classic organic farming text. His work influenced and inspired many farmers and agricultural scientists who furthered the organic movement, including Lady Eve Balfour and J.I. Rodale.

Source: en.wikipedia.org


Do you know

A Hydroponic Garden:

Image result for Hydroponic garden

Soil is not required for hydroponic agriculture, only the nutrients and minerals solutions are required to grow plants in your garden. Come grow organic plants. The earliest published work on growing terrestrial plants without soil was the book "Sylva Sylvarum" written in 1627 by Francis Bacon. In 1699, John Woodward found that plants in less-pure water sources grew better than plants in distilled water. By 1842, a list of nine elements believed to be essential for plant growth had been compiled by German botanists Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop, resulted in development of the technique of soilless cultivation.

In continuous-flow solution hydroponic culture, the nutrient solution flows past the roots. It is much easier to automate than the static solution hydroponic culture because adjustment to the temperature and nutrient concentrations can be made in a large storage tank that has potential to serve thousands of plants.

In the nutrient film technique (NFT), a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for the plant growth is recirculated past the bare roots of plants in a water-tight thick root mat, which is moist but still airy. An abundant oxygen supply is provided to the roots of the plants. The result is higher yields of high-quality produce obtained over an extended period of cropping. Thus, this becomes one of the more productive techniques.


Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

News Highlights

Farming First: 2017 Budget to Focus on Rural India

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will have Bharat on his mind when he unveils the 2017 Union Budget for India, under the heavy shadow of demonetization. Multilateral agencies have lowered India’s GDP growth projections for the next financial year to about 6 per cent from 7.3 per cent.

The Finance Minister is likely to splurge on agriculture and rural India over the middle class. Economists predict that agriculture will register over 4 per cent growth rate in 2017–18, as against the average 0.5 per cent in the first two years of the Narendra Modi government.

Farmers are likely to love Budget 2017. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is banking on last year’s “Bharat Budget” to show the results. “The top consideration within the government is to substantially enhance the existing Rs. 9 lakh farm credit by lowering the rate of interest for farmers. The current policy puts farm credit at 4 per cent. The Centre bears the rest. Jaitley may further lower the rate to about 2 per cent, which will give maximum relief to debt-ridden farmers,” a top government source said.

Modi has targeted doubling farm income by 2022. Of late, the reluctance of states to implement key reforms has clouded the government’s plans with pessimism. “The government is considering at the highest level to compensate farmers for the loss of income due to various reasons by averaging 3 years’ prices for any specific crop. The Centre may compensate the difference in price, if the farmers are forced to sell their produce low,” said a senior official in the NITI Aayog.

In his budget, Jaitley may go selective with Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian’s Universal Basic Income idea, by using the yardstick only for marginal farmers who own less than 3 acres by giving them 3,000 as dole. Substantial budgetary allocations for agricultural research in the form of setting up more Indian Agricultural Research Institutes, Indian Agricultural University and Kisan Vikas Kendra could be part of the NDA’s Bharat plan. “Research in agriculture is top priority, as value addition and innovation are seen as ways to substantially lift the income of people in the rural areas, which in turn can boost economic growth to a higher trajectory by ensuring robust demand in the manufacturing sector,” the official added.

Jaitley may bring cheer to the Demo beleaguered middle class by enhancing the income tax exemption limit to Rs. 3 lakh. Though home buyers may benefit with a rise in home loan interest deduction to Rs. 2 lakh from Rs. 1.5 lakh a year, the Modi government appears more keen to make “Bharat” shine.

Read more at: newindianexpress

Demonetization has had no immediate impact on agriculture: A survey

A perception survey of village panchayat heads across nine states appears to corroborate nationwide sowing data suggesting that demonetization may not have had an immediate impact on agriculture.

The survey conducted by Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Nishant Chadha and Arijit Das of the research organization India Development Foundation (IDF) covered 48 districts across nine states.

It was carried out between 10 January and 20 January and aimed to find out, based on early indicators, whether the impact of demonetization was uniform across the states. The states covered were Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

At the end of the second week of January, government data showed that area sown for Rabi crops was 616.2 lakh hectares, 6% higher than in the same period last year. Sowing in the previous year, however, was influenced by deficient rainfall during the southwest monsoon. IDF’s survey data showed that area under Rabi had either increased or remained the same in a little over half the villages surveyed.

Other key agricultural indicators, such as fertilizer used also suggested that demonetization did not have a negative impact. According to Gangopadhyay, the survey results showed that demonetization did not have a uniform impact and there could be other factors influencing the results on agriculture. Another indicator that has been widely used as a proxy to measure the impact of demonetization is food prices.

In December, the consumer price index, which measures retail prices, showed 1.3% inflation in food products, the lowest level in the 2 years. “Food prices have been low regardless of demonetization,” said Gangopadhyay. Prices started trending lower before PM Narendra Modi’s announcement of the demonetization of high value currency notes on 8th November and the main reason for low food prices was weak aggregate demand in the economy, he added. The survey also covered the impact of demonetization on the use of agricultural labor. The results showed that more than half the sample reported that the use of labor remained unchanged or had increased.

Patanjali may source its agricultural produce from Telangana:

“Yoga guru Baba Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurveda is exploring the possibility of sourcing for its Nagpur plant agricultural produce from Telangana, where it is also looking at setting up a production facility,” TRS Lok Sabha member Kavitha Kalvakuntla said. The Nizamabad MP said, “Patanjali has sought a list of crops that Telangana produces, adding that preliminary details have been given to it”. She is planning to meet Patanjali officials next month to understand, “what exactly they require”. Patanjali has conveyed that if they set up a plant in Nizamabad, they can source “most of agriculture produce,” from entire Telangana, according to her. “They (Patanjali) are keen to work with us. We are working out the details what exactly they can come up with because they have a plant in Nagpur, so they are trying to map the raw materials that they search for Nagpur and how much of that is available in Telangana because Nizamabad is quite close to Nagpur,” she said.

Read more at: financialexpress

Insecticides inks pact with ICAR-IARI to train farmers:

Agro-chemical Company Insecticides (India) Ltd. has signed an agreement with the farm research body ICAR-IARI to train farmers from sowing to harvesting and help improve crop production. The company has “signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through IIL Foundation with ICAR-IARI (the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi), the government's apex agriculture research body, to train farmers and inculcate the best farming practices among the farming community”. “Under the initiative, few village clusters will be selected, and selected farmers from them will be given complete training from sowing to harvesting,” the company said in a statement. The farmers would be trained by the experts from ICAR-IARI and adopt the latest technology available. The complete farming will be done in the supervision of those experts only. The scope will include a variety of crops as per the cropping pattern of the area. This will be a three-year agreement. "This will help the farming community to improve and maximize its output. In India, many farmers still follow subsistence/traditional farming and are not able to fully utilize the resources available to them,” Insecticides India MD Rajesh Aggarwal said. He said, “It is imperative to help farmers and impart knowledge regarding best agricultural techniques and methods and train them to increase their yield”. Dr. K. V. Prabhu, Joint Director (Research), IARI and Dr. J.P. Sharma, Joint Director (Extension), IARI, were present at the occasion. Insecticides (India) Ltd., a company listed on both BSE and NSE, had posted a turnover of Rs. 988.15 crores in 2015–16.


Read more at: moneycontrol

Demonetization: Fruit, vegetable traders plan to halt operations if situation doesn't improve

Traders are contemplating shuttering their operations in a few days if there is no respite from the cash crunch, which has triggered a payment crisis and sparked heated arguments between farmers, who are offering perishables at half to one-third the price that prevailed last week, and traders, who don't have legal cash to pay. "We will see for the next three to four days before taking a call to close the Azadpur mandi. If we don't have money, how can we pay our laborers, farmer, and transporter?" said Metharam Kriplani, president of Chamber of Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Traders. Some market players said tax authorities have raided big traders in Azadpur, a major regional hub. Others said sellers were reluctantly accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from large buyers. We will see for the next three to four days before taking a call to close the Azadpur mandi. If we don't have money, how can we pay our laborers, farmer, and transporter?" said Metharam Kriplani, president of Chamber of Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Traders. "For how long can you run a business in debt? Even paying half amount to farmers for their sale of produce is not solving the problem as it is leading to poor supplies and lowering the purchasing power of traders. The market will crash," said Mukesh Tiwari, past chairman of Ghazipur mandi. The solution is to install card machines, said Balkrishan Sharma, who buy vegetables worth Rs 1-2 lakh a day for 50-100 vegetable vendors.

Read more at: economictimes


India committed to early implementation of G20 agriculture pledges

India will continue to extend its support to early implementation of past commitments made at G20 agriculture ministers' meetings, a top government official said on Sunday. In his address to the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “India will continue to extend its support to early implementation of past commitments made at the earlier editions, particularly on research and development, collaboration and knowledge transfer, action to combat food loss and waste, and information and communication technologies (ICT) ”. According to an official statement, Singh further said, “the role of G20 economies in achieving the sustainable global food security takes on significant importance and there is a growing consensus that the challenges of maintaining food and nutritional security need innovative solutions through collaborative and coordinated polices among member as well as non-member countries”.

"India also supports the proposal of strengthening of the agricultural market information system (AMIS), underscores the importance of assessment of stocks and suggests sharing of best practices in this regard," the statement quoted Singh as saying.

Read more at: business-standard

Quote

“The most important possession of a country is its population. If this is maintained in health and vigor everything else will follow; if this is allowed to decline nothing, not even great riches, can save the country from eventual ruin - Albert Howard ”


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