By Shobha Ahuja
New Delhi: The Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), has termed the provisions made in the Union Budget 2020-21 as a laudable attempt to improve farm incomes and double farmers’ income by 2022. The Budget has unraveled a slew of measures which would address some of the key concerns of the farmers. In this context, the commitment of the FM to strengthen APMCs through agri infra budget is noteworthy. The objective is to improve the purchasing power of the rural populace, augment rural prosperity and promote inclusive growth, ICFA said in the release.
According to ICFA, there is a quantum jump in expenditure on agriculture which is crucial for enhancing farm productivity. A significant rise in procurement for wheat and rice and disbursement to producers of pulses and cotton is commendable.
ICFA was of the view that the planned investment in agri-infrastructure, by enhancing the allocation to the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and micro irrigation fund is perceived to be an economic necessity, considering the economic distress faced within the rural precincts which was exacerbated by the pandemic. Likewise, there is an increase on enhancing credit to agriculture for which the Finance Minister has enhanced the target to Rs. 16.5 lakh crores in FY22. This is also a step in the right direction. The stepped-up allocation for animal husbandry, fishery etc to boost value addition in agriculture would also promote diversification into new areas and improve farm income, said ICFA.
According to ICFA, expanding TOP scheme to 22 more perishables will help strengthen the supply chain and reduce wastages in these perishables. The extension of e-nam to 1000 more mandis would also help make better price discovery among farmers.
Hence the Budget contains many positives for agriculture and if the provisions are well implemented, it would further improve the prosperity in the sector.
Shobha Ahuja, Advisor INDIAN CHAMBER OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE (email@example.com)