Agri Budget 2023: From Funds For Startups, Digital Public Infra To Millets Promotion
The launch of the agriculture accelerator fund will provide ample relief to the industry, in terms of encouraging young entrepreneurs towards the sector while also bringing in innovative and affordable solutions
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech in Parliament announced an agriculture accelerator fund to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas, digital public infrastructure for agriculture to enable inclusive, farmer-centric solutions and to make India a global hub for millets ('Shree Anna').
"The government has taken bold steps in digitising the sector with the creation of an open-source digital public infrastructure and accelerator fund. The push for a green plant programme hits the nail on the head for boosting productivity and profitability, and the increase in credit will provide much-needed financial support to the industry," said Aneesh Jain, Founder, Gram Unnati.
FM also launched the Atmanirbhar clean plant program to boost the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops at an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore.
"The decision of the government to provide Digital public infrastructure for agriculture enabling an open source, open standard, and interoperable public good encompassing farmer-centric solutions will help to improve access to farm inputs for the farmers whilst also boosting market intelligence, thereby also providing support to Agri-tech and startup growth," said Karthik Jayaraman, Co-founder and MD, WayCool Foods.
Jayaraman further said the launch of the agriculture accelerator fund will provide ample relief to the industry, in terms of encouraging young entrepreneurs towards the sector while also bringing in innovative and affordable solutions to address the challenges faced by the farmers, especially in terms of enhancing profitability and equipping modern technology.
"The increased focus on driving millet cultivation, consumption and exports, higher investment in fisheries and promotion of natural farming are all helpful from a crop diversification, sustainability and nutrition standpoint. The focus on better management of co-operatives and producer collectives will help farmers in realising better prices for their produce," said Anand Ramanathan, Partner, Deloitte India.
Ramanathan added that the agriculture accelerator announcement for promoting start-ups in ag-tech enterprises will help increase yield and productivity on the supply side while also enhancing price realisation for the farmer on the demand side through more efficient market linkages.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a new Ministry of Cooperation with a mandate to realise the vision of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi’. The government has initiated the computerisation of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with an investment of 2,516 crore.
"The introduction of digital public infrastructure for agriculture, Agri Accelerator Fund, Value chain linked PPP initiative on cotton, promotion of healthy planting material and enhanced agriculture credit target apart from farmers-led decentralized storage capacity build up through cooperatives. It will promote R&D, innovation, and digitization of agriculture apart from promoting disruption through the startup ecosystem," said Ravi Annavarapu, President, FMC India.
He further added that the government's focus on natural farming will be served better if it can lay out clear guidelines for introducing global biological or microbial technologies for the farmers to manage the potential crop loss due to pests and promoting integrated pest management.
Agriculture loses more than Rs 2 lakh crores worth of crops to biotic pressures. The government will do well to align the regulatory system to expedite the introduction of newer technologies in agriculture.
Around The World