One stop agri- processing will boost agri-business in rural India
Pashya Patel, chairman of Maharashtra Commission of Agriculture cost and prices shares his views on encouraging processing industry in tribal and rural agriculture area.
How agriculture produce can be used to encourage agro-processing industry in the country?
In Maharashtra, we have a variety of fruits in Konkan and Gadchiroli which can be processed on the spot and can be sent directly in market. The fruits like Jackfruit, Jamun, Cashew apple,Mango can be processed on the spot. As the farmers’ do not have proper cold storage facilities, many times fruits like Jamun and Cashew apple can get rotten within short span of time. Government should encourage the wine making processing unit in Konkan and Gadchiroli so that the fruits will be processed in time and on the spot .It ultimately it will save farmers from loss of agricultural produce. Government should also wave off excise duty on wine processing industry so that it will encourage the processing industry in rural and tribal area. Farmers can become part of processing industry.
Do you think encouraging export of agricultural produce will help in doubling farmers’ income?
In India, total need of edible oil is 230 lakh metric tonnes and domestic production of edible oil is 70 lakh metric tonnes. Government have to import 150 lakh metric tonnes from other countries. In our country, farmers did not even get MSP (Minimum Support Price) in open market for Soybean seeds which are used for the production of edible oil. After our follow up, last year, Government has increased tax on import for four times to encourage the production of oil seeds in the country. In 2000, there was 44 per cent import tax on refined oil and 16 per cent on crude oil. In 2001 these duties on import were revised as 75 per cent crude oil and 82 per cent on edible oil which ultimately gave increased the rate of Soybean seeds and farmers received good MSP for Soybean. In recent when I became chairman of Maharashtra Commission of Agriculture cost and prices the duty on import was 7.5 per cent on crude oil and 12.5 per cent which later on changed to 44 per cent on crude oil and 54 per cent on edible refined oil which again increased the profit of soybean growers.
What changes government should make in agro-commodity trade policies to boost agro- industry?
Like US had appointed its representative officers world to collect the information about the climate changes. It helps them in increasing trade opportunities. When we communicated this point with central government, our government has appointed one agriculture officer in Indian embassy in each country to collect the information related to demands of world-wide agricultural market. It will help not help farmers but also increase the export of agriculture produce.