Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:3 (March , 2017)

INDEX

- ISAP Activities

Science & Technology

Quote

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 project farmers into Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and integration of these FPOs into the existing market value chain. In the first phase, ISAP formed seven FPOs in the Districts of Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur. In Phase II, emphasis is largely on making these FPOs sustainable through market integration, infrastructure support and convergence with various schemes.

Monthly Update:-

Procurement of Red gram is in full swing in the project region. KFMS has become the second largest supplier of Red gram to NAFED. NAFED took initiative for buffering the stock of pulses under price stabilization fund (PSF) proposed by GOI. So far, procurement of 236,098 quintals of Red gram has been done by KFMS from 8970 farmers in the districts of Karnataka. Farmers are getting average INR 700-800 per quintal from this arrangement.

Karnataka Farmers Maha Society (KFMS) is also planning to set-up centre of excellence (COE) for horticulture crops. The regions of North Karnataka receives very less rainfall, so are semi-arid and also called dry zones. Different field trials at Buyyar farm in Kamlapur block of Gulbarga district indicated that the Watermelon is a potential crop in this region. KFMS took up the venture of transferring this innovative farming among the farmers in this region. On a 12 acres plot at Buyyar site of Taluka Kamlapur in District Gulbarga, KFMS has undertaken hi-tech farming of Watermelon, this year. The development of Watermelon saplings was done in the nurseries of FPO members, which were later transferred in to the 12 acres plot. In this process, KFMS will strive to provide good market linkages, technical support and other requisite professional touch to the farmers of the FPOs promoted by ISAP.

The KFMS farmers working towards the first stage of saplings formation in trays

Red Gram procurement by Karnataka Farmers Maha Society (KFMS)—A photo of the site


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, such as watershed harvesting management and generating in-farm resources, such as 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 farmers’ produce.

Monthly Update:-

FPO representatives at the Districts of Bundi, Baran and Sawai Madhopur of Rajasthan visited Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 organized jointly by ICAR and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare at the campus of IARI, Pusa, during 15–17 March, 2017. The farmers participated in Kisan Goshthi and visited various stalls that represent new varieties, technologies and low-cost irrigation systems.

A visit of FPO members at Krishi Unnati Mela 2017, IARI, Pusa, New Delhi during 15–17 March, 2017


The ISAP team under its OCPF-IFS project is guiding farmers for Certified Seed Production in Kishanganj and Anta Block of Rajasthan state. Presently, the Demo is being piloted at 20 acres of land by four farmers in each block. Farmers are using foundation seeds for the production of Certified Seeds under strict scientific guidelines. It has been planned by the FPO to get the produced seed certified by Rajasthan State Seed Corporation. Recommended visits are being made by the Seed Certifying Agency which is an essential part of Seed Certification Process. Along with the initiative being taken, seed processing plant is also installed for the processing of seed so produced.

Seed Inspector Mr. Sharma visited and inspected the wheat fields, which has been undertaken for seed production program during current season. All the fields were well maintained and up to the standards of Seed Certification Department.

A visit and inspection of wheat fields by Mr. Sharma (Seed Inspector) at Rajasthan


SFAC-sponsored Projects

ISAP has been delegated the responsibility of setting up 54 FPOs by Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). ISAP have to set-up these FPOs in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. Each FPO will be comprised of 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)

1. Output Business by Kaladgi Horticulture Producer Company Limited:

During the month of March, Kaladgi Horticulture Producer Company initiated output business of ‘Sapota’. Sapota is majorly grown among the farmers members of the FPO. The FPO, after collecting from the farmer members of 2 FIGs, has sold the produce to a wholesaler named “Converge Bio Links”.

Sapota was collected in the FPO offices and then grading was done because grade “A” and grade “B” had different selling prices. Grade “A” Sapota was 7984 kg and grade “B” Sapota was 426 kg. From selling both the grades of about 8.4 quantials of Sapota, a net revenue of more than 2 lakhs was accrued.

It was a good experience for the Company, but challenges were also faced while carrying out the business activities. To mention but a few major ones are: already existing channel between the farmers and some middle men; lack of market knowledge; gaining the trust of the farmer members. After the success of this small business, Company has planned to cover more farmer members and to sell the produce at a better price.

Collection and storage of Sapota at the FPO office of Kaladgi Farmer Producer Company Ltd.


2. Mobilization of Sericulture Farmers Producer Company, Belgaum:

During the month of March, along with farmers’ mobilization for the Farmer Producer Companies, Technical training was also given to farmers by the ISAP Team. The four major villages identified for the training purpose are Munavalli (Savadatti); Biradi (Raibag); Igali (Athani); Tigadi (Gokak).

The trainings on Soil testing, Water conservation, wider spacing, Mulberry tree cultivation in addition to disease control and package of practices were conducted. The training was given by experts of Sericulture.

By the end of March, we were able to mobilize 850 Sericulture farmers to be the part of the producer company. The Directors of the Company have also been identified and soon the company will get registered.

The technical training given to the farmers by the ISAP Team at Belgaum


 

Project SHARE

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

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 engaged in profitable agri-business operations. The project will also impart trainings to lead farmers for Integrated Farming System (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 Farmer Producer Organizations. 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 March, 2017 the project activities involved, orientation trainings on Integrated Farming System (Components and advantages). Preliminary activities for setting up demonstrations on IFS were completed at all the project locations (Selection of farmers, Decision on IFS components, Purchase of IFS components and Delivery of the IFS components to the respective project locations) and Exposure visits to successful Farmer Producer Organizations. Exposure visits were aimed to motivate farmers and replicate the practices adopted by the farmers’ members of the FPOs. Crop trainings were another ongoing component of the project. The topics covered were Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, and Good Agriculture Practices, such as using organic inputs, using improved agricultural equipments and soil testing. FPO registration is under process. During the month of March, 2 new FPOs were registered with a total of 8 FPOs registered under the project till now.

IFS trainings at the project locations of Maharashtra


Agri-Clinic Agri-Business Program

ISAP is running an Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) in 12 states under the aegis of MANAGE. Under this program, training is provided to the unemployed Agriculture and allied sector Graduates. After the training, ISAP provides active hand-holding support to these trained agri-preneurs for setting up their own business ventures. ISAP has so far trained 4400 agri-preneurs in the States of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Out of these 4400, around 1454 agri-preneurs have established their independent businesses successfully. We share one such success story with our readers in each ISAP newsletter.

A Success Story

“The one who is crazy enough to think that one can change the world is the only one who does’’, says Samir Ranjan Bordoloi of Jorhat, Assam. He was a simple Agri-Graduate few years back, but today he is well known in his State for his initiatives in the area of “Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Protection” through his ACABC Centre located at Jorhat, Assam. Samir graduated from Assam Agriculture University and began his professional career with Rallies India Ltd. During his visits to farmers he observed the prolific use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in cultivation of various crops. “The thought of the harmful effects that these chemical pesticides and fertilizers could cause on the human body was always there in my mind”, says Samir. He worked with Tata Group for some time and came across the concept of “Tata Kisan Centre”, which he found very beneficial and welfare-oriented for the farmers.

With the aim of expanding and diversification of the agriculture extension services, Samir joined the ACABC programme at the Guwahati center of ISAP. During the 2-months training programme, Samir got better insights on how he could convert his dream of providing consultancy services to the farmers into reality. “Although I was working with organizations which were into agriculture industry, but I always felt that the scope is limited for me in terms of what I wanted to do for the farmers”, says Samir.

Samir started his own Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Center (ACABC) in the name of S.S. Botanicals Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Center, in which he offered membership card to the farmers for availing free Agri-consultancy services along with agri-inputs at subsidized rates. Few years later, he mobilized a group of young educated farmers and formed an NGO called “Farm 2 Foundation”, which has been duly registered. The formation of an NGO helped in giving a concrete shape to his dream of helping farming community of his place. It also helped in strengthening the extension activities in various ways, such as providing quality agricultural extension services mainly in the field of organic farming, plant protection, soil testing and marketing of farmers’ produce, providing quality organic inputs and seeds. The mono-cropping farmers were motivated to take up organic farming with season-specific cropping pattern and methods of intercropping. A unit was set-up for producing vermi-compost was set-up for producing around 10,000 kg of vermi-compost per month made from an aquatic plant called ‘Water hyacinth’ and enriched it further with Azatobacter, Trichoderma and neem cake which was sold under the name “Green Gold”. “Through my Agri-Clinic Centre more than 50 farmers producing vermi-compost sell their produce at very reasonable prices, so that awareness can be created about the need for better health of the crops. More than 150 school students were taught to produce vermi-compost in thermocol boxes that are used by fish vendors. Time to time training programmes for the farmers are conducted on production of vermi-compost, marketing of products and extension education on organic agriculture”, says Samir.

Samir has also been promoting agro-tourism by developing the villages into Agro-tourism Centers in the areas of Golaghat, Mazuli, Tinsukia and Jorhat of Assam. In Panitola village of Tisukia, a tea garden area has been developed where visitors can have an experience of visiting tea garden, pluck tea leaves and can also take part in preparation of handmade green tea. Apart from this, they can also see how these teas are specially packed for selling in the market. In Mazuli, a bamboo cottage has been constructed where the tourist can stay and enjoy agri-cultivation in Mazuli River Island. This gives a lifetime experience for the visitors. Samir has been conferred with the National Award ‘Pragati Puraskar 2016’ by Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India for his outstanding contribution in the field of Organic Agriculture.

Samir’s organization has an annual turnover of INR 1 crore and currently around 350 people are associated with him.

ISAP wishes Samir all the best for his future endeavors. Samir can be contacted on +91-8486029583.

Samir (extreme left) with the tourists who arrived at his place for an agro-tourism experience

‘Hunar’ Skills Training Program and IFS - John Deere

ISAP and Global Communities has initiated the Hunar Skills program in Dharwad region, Karnataka; Bhopal region, Madhya Pradesh; and Nagpur/Akola region, Maharashtra. This programme 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. The training is free of cost and a fully residential training program with lodging and boarding arrangements for the trainees. 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 1350 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, in Dharwad district of Karnataka. Till now 320 candidates have been trained at all the three locations; we also started a new batch in Combine Operator and Mechanic domain on 16th March, 2017, at Akola, Maharashtra with the strength of 13 candidates and we have also started a new batch in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in Tractor Mechanic Domain with the strength of 25 candidates on 25th March, 2017.


Hunar’ Skills Training Program on Combine Operator and Mechanic domain



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 at providing 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. The training is a free of cost non-residential training program for the trainees.

Monthly Activities:-

We have completed training of three batches on 14th January, 2017, with the strength of 84 candidates in Solar Energy Technician domain. Placement for the candidates is in process and we have also started a new batch with the strength of 101 candidates on 25th February, 2016.


‘Hunar’ Skill Training Program in ‘Solar Energy Technician’ domain at Samastipur, Bihar



On 14th March, Ms. Avani Mishra from IEX and Mr. Naveen Jha (Head of Skill Training, ISAP) visited the training centre and interacted with the candidates. They also shared their ideas about the potential growth and opportunities in the sector and encouraged the students to make optimum use of the organized skill training program.


Ms. Avani Mishra (IEX) and Mr. Naveen Jha (Head Skill Training, ISAP) visited ‘Hunar’ Skill Training Center at Samastipur, Bihar




Science & Technology:

EnviGreen Edible Bags

envigreen1

With the SC issuing a notice to the Centre and all state governments on a plea seeking complete ban on the use of plastic bags in the country and the Government enforcing the existing ban has made quite a tough time for the shopping lovers. While legislation helps to protect our environment and wildlife, a young entrepreneur named “Ashwath Hegde” noticed that it was a hardship for many Indians to market without a carry bag.

“People were concerned about how they would carry products from the market now. Everyone cannot afford a bag worth Rs. 5 or Rs. 15 to carry a kilogram of sugar,” says Hegde. So, he decided to come up with a solution that would be sustainable and affordable.

Hedge experimented and eventually landed on a combination of 12 ingredients that was created from natural starch (potato, tapioca, corn, etc.) and vegetable oils to make a bag that looks and feels just like plastic, but with none of the negative environmental impacts like plastic. EnviGreen’s bags will naturally degrade in 180 days and if they are submerged in water they disappear in a day. Oh! And also – these bags are edible. This means that animals can feed on and digest these degraded bags.


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

Professor Kailas Nath Kaul

Professor Kailas Nath Kaul (1905–1983) An Indian botanist, agronomist, agricultural scientist, horticulturist, herbalist, and naturalist, and a world authority on Arecaceae (the family alternatively called Palmae) in the 1950s, Professor K.N. Kaul was recognized for his interest and contributions to a number of biological sciences. Kaulinia, a genus of Polypodiaceae (a family of ferns) has been named after him. Professor Kaul established the National Botanical Gardens (now the National Botanical Research Institute) at Lucknow, India, in 1948. He remained Director of the National Botanical Gardens till 1965. In this period, the National Botanical Gardens at Lucknow became one of the world’s five best botanical gardens, along with the botanical gardens at Kew (England), Java (Indonesia), Paris (France) and New York (USA). He was responsible for the reclamation of several thousand acres of alkaline land in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His work has been named ‘The Banthra Formula’ after Banthra, the place where it was initiated in 1953. The project involved organic amendments and biological methods, including the cultivation of alkali-tolerant herbaceous, shrub and tree species. It had a decentralized community-based development approach, and benefited subsistence and small-scale commercial farmers, through intensification and diversification of biomass production for purposes, such as food, fuel, fodder, fertilizer, medicare, timber, animal husbandry, aquaculture, soil amelioration, and bioaesthetics.

Source: Wikipedia


Do you know

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is one of the heaviest freshwater turtles in the world. It is famous for its immensely powerful jaws, which has a bite force of approximately 158 ± 18 kgf. It has long, spring-like neck, and a thick scaled tail. The distinct alligator-like ridges on its shell inspired the name, alligator snapping turtle. Due to its prehistoric looks, this turtle has earned another nickname “dinosaur of the turtle world”. It is a master of camouflage and hides itself very well by letting algae grow on its shell. Also, it has a naturally-camouflaged mouth and a worm-like appendage on the tip of its tongue. This appendage is used to lure prey inside its mouth.


Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

News Highlights

Gates Foundation sharpens focus on increasing income of Indian farmers

With an intention to help improve the income of Indian farmers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will now sharpen focus on this area. The foundation has also collaborated with NITI Aayog to work on a project in Bihar. “Indian agriculture is facing several challenges despite Indian government being one of the largest spenders on agriculture in the world," Dr. Purvis Mehta, Asia Lead-Agriculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said speaking on the priorities for 2017. Currently, the foundation has several programmes under implementation. “It is helping farmers to market their produce well by using aggregation model or hedging them on the commodity exchange platform is already implemented in a smaller way successfully and now more vigorous efforts will be made to help farmers diversify crops, including Legume crops (such as peas) where India is largely import dependent. Besides, launching a pilot project in Bihar for developing pulses value chain along with NITI Aayog, the foundation is also working with NCDEX and other agencies, including Farmers Producers Organization (FPOs) who can act as aggregators on behalf of farmers. According to the plan, FPOs will collect farmers produce and sell them at a better price using their skills and even working with mandis on how to help farmers realize more. The facilities for grading produce are another option where the foundation can help. It also aims to guide farmers to come together to form a company. “Livestock farming and dairy sectors are other areas where we have seen success and we will put more efforts and resources there,” said Mehta. The project for goat rearing in Bihar has been extensively successful as the income of rural women has risen with the implementation of new techniques and training.

Read more at: business-standard

UP to lose 8% of revenue if farm loan waiver goes ahead: SBI

After the Bharatiya Janata Party won a massive mandate in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s first challenge will be fulfilling the election promise to waive off loans given to small and marginal farmers.

The Uttar Pradesh government stands to lose Rs. 27,420 crore, or 8 percent of its total revenue, if the farm loan waiver scheme becomes a reality, according to State Bank of India. As per data, the total outstanding credit by all commercial banks in 2016 towards the agriculture sector was Rs. 86,240 crore in Uttar Pradesh, with an average ticket size of Rs 1.34 lakhs.

According to Reserve Bank of India data from 2012, 31 percent of the direct agriculture finance went to marginal and small farmers (landholdings up to 2.5 acres). “Taking this as a proxy for Uttar Pradesh as well, approximately Rs. 27,419.70 crore will have to be waived off in case loan waiver scheme is implemented for the small and marginal farmers for all banks [scheduled commercial banks, cooperative banks and primary agricultural cooperative societies],” the country’s largest lender said in a report. It stated that the UP government’s total revenue for FY17 was Rs. 340,255.24 crore, according to revised estimates. Thus, the amount of Rs. 27,419.70 crore to be waived off is approximately 8 percent of total revenue.” This will definitely cause some amount of stress for the state’s fiscal arithmetic in the coming year,” read the report.

According to the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011, 40 percent of rural households of Uttar Pradesh are engaged in cultivation. When it comes to landholdings, 92 percent are marginal and small landholdings, according to 2010–11 Agriculture Census. Banks are against the implementation of the loan waiver scheme as they fear this would affect the credit discipline among that segment of borrowers. SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya recently said, “We feel that in case of a [farm] loan waiver there is always a fall in credit discipline because the people who get the waiver have expectations of future waivers as well. As such, future loans given often remain unpaid.” She added that no formal proposal had come to them from the government. A Congress leader submitted a breach of privilege notice in the Maharashtra Assembly against Bhattacharya for “insulting farmers and the House” with her remarks. In 2009, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government retained power on its lucrative election promise of Rs. 60,000-crore farm loan waiver scheme. This is not the first time that such a concern has been raised by lenders. In 2014, banks had raised opposition to a loan waiver scheme in Andhra Pradesh and had written to the finance ministry expressing their concerns. Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan had also pointed out that the “repeated loan waivers by various state governments distort credit pricing, thereby also disrupting the credit market”. Incidentally, SBI last month allowed one-time settlements for its tractor and farm equipment loans that make up about Rs. 6,000 crore of doubtful and losses on its books. According to the SBI report, the new UP government has to go beyond the traditional solutions and find innovative ways of adding to its revenues. The Yogi Adityanath administration must focus on raising farm productivity, fast track transfer of benefits to the farmers’ bank accounts, encourage multiple cropping by farmers and increase interstate price parity among other things, it said.

Read more at: moneycontrol

Government sets up 27 CoEs in Horticulture so far:

Stressing the need to support farmers in the horticulture sector Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “the challenge is to complement the sector with food processing, cold-chain agro logistics, agri-business, input related services, agricultural lending, insurance and value chain related services”.

“In case of Horticulture, cold-chain strengthens the total value chain system and enables socio-economic transformation of farmers. To double farmer’s income, cold-chain plays an important role in ensuring that farmers can recover value from produce to result in gainful economic productivity”, Singh said, during the inter-session meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in New Delhi. Minister said that there are numerous success stories, for example, banana in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, guava and tomato in Chhattisgarh, pomegranate and mango in Gujarat, pineapple in Nagaland, kiwi in Arunachal and orchids in Sikkim, off season vegetables in Uttarakhand, etc.

Establishment of crop-based Centers of Excellence is being encouraged in each state to serve as a hub for supply of planting material and dissemination of technology to farmers. So far, 27 CoEs have been established with Indo-Israel collaboration and more are in the pipeline with collaboration with other countries, he underlined. Agriculture Minister stated that India is currently producing about 286 million tonnes of horticulture produce from an area of about 24.4 million hectare, accounting for about 13 percent of the total world production of fruits and leads the world in the production of mango, banana, papaya, sapota, pomegranate, acid lime and aonla.

Shri. Singh informed the session that India is the second largest producer of vegetables after China and is a leader in production of vegetables like peas and okra. Besides, India occupies the second position in production of brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower and onion and third in potato and tomato in the world. Special thrust is being given for production of vegetables under protected cultivation under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). The Minister hoped that deliberations of the In-Session Consultative Committee would help bring a clearer insight of the lead role that horticulture must play in improving livelihood options, diversification of agriculture, and higher income to farmers.

Read more at: indiancooperative

De-growth in sugar consumption may not affect prices

The expected de-growth of 3 to 3.5 per cent in sugar consumption is unlikely to affect price and profitability in the current sugar year, a report said.

Domestic sugar consumption for 2017 is likely to report de-growth of 3–3.5 per cent to around 24 million MT as compared to last year. This is likely to be driven by a lower off-take of sugar from the public distribution system (PDS), short-term consumption loss post-note ban as well as impacted demand from bulk consumers. These consumers include soft drink makers, bakeries, confectioners, hotels and restaurants, which account for around 60–70 per cent of milled sugar demand, said the report by rating agency ICRA. "The demand impact is unlikely to have an impact on the prices and profitability trends in the current sugar year. The impact of the decline in the domestic sugar consumption during SY2017 is likely to be more than offset by a higher- than-expected decline in sugar production.

"However, an ongoing slowdown in demand is likely to have an adverse impact on prices and business volumes of sugar companies in the medium- to long-term," said ICRA Ratings Senior Vice-President & Group Head Sabyasachi Majumdar. The sugar demand in SY2017 is likely to be impacted by a multiplicity of factors like temporary loss of off-take in November-December following demonetization. The note ban also led to a reduced off-take by wholesalers/traders.

Secondly, in March 2017, the Centre withdrew the Rs 4,500-crore subsidy for the state governments who distributed subsidized sugar through the PDS. The order will come into effect from FY2018. This withdrawal is likely to impact the usual off-take by the states and result in lower availability of subsidized sugar. This, coupled with a significant increase in the prices in the open market, would reduce the consumption. In addition, sugar off-take by FMCG companies is likely to be impacted by factors such as agitation against certain soft drink brands. The protests have been on account of the alleged significant groundwater consumption by these companies in many parts of Tamil Nadu. This is going to impact the demand of soft drinks manufactured by some of these firms, the report said.

ICRA is expecting a production of only around 20.3 million MT in SY2017. Domestic production is expected to be lower than consumption by around 3.0–3.5 million MT. The rating outfit projected the closing stocks at around 4.0–4.5 million MT in SY2017, which, it said, would be sufficient to meet the requirement of around two months of domestic consumption.


Read more at: sugarnews

Amul, BigBasket among firms getting government approval to set 101 cold chain projects

Indian dairy marvel Amul and online grocer BigBasket are among the companies that have got the federal approval to set up 101 integrated cold chain projects, signaling big investments in a sector considered crucial to reducing farm output losses in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

These projects, allocated by the Food Processing Ministry, would help in the storage of perishable produce, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, marine, poultry, and the ready-to-eat products. The cold chains, to be set up across the country, would streamline the agricultural supply chain, and create huge employment opportunities for surplus farm hands. These projects, allocated by the Food Processing Ministry, would help in the storage of perishable produce, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, marine, poultry, and the ready-to-eat products. The cold chains, to be set up across the country, would streamline the agricultural supply chain, and create huge employment opportunities for surplus farm hands.

“These 101 new integrated cold chain projects will leverage total investment of Rs. 3,100 crore for creation of modern infrastructure for the food processing sector. The total expected grant-in-aid to be released to these projects is Rs. 838 crore,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Minister for Food Processing told the media.

Among other big names winning such projects is the Haldiram Group that makes ready-to-eat Indian snack-foods. The new projects will create additional capacity of 2.76 lakh tonnes of cold storages, including controlled atmosphere and frozen storage, 115 tonnes per hour of individual quick freezing (IQF) capacity, 56 lakh litres per day of milk processing, 210 tonnes per batch of blast freezing, and 629 refrigerated and insulated vehicles, she said.

“India is one of the largest food producers in the world and is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, yet only 2.2% of our fruits and vegetables are processed. While existing cold storages are concentrated in a few states and roughly 80 to 90% are used for potatoes, India has a long way to go,” said Badal. The minister added that the cold chains will help provide better prices to farmers. “The infrastructure will also reduce the wastage of perishables, add value to the agricultural produce, and create huge employment opportunities especially in rural areas,” she said.

The ministry is focusing on building a national cold chain grid in the country, so that all food producing hubs are connected to cold storages and processing industries. The cold-chain and value-addition infrastructure programme provides financial assistance of up to Rs 10 crore to entrepreneurs.

Read more at: economictimes


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