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Taking into consideration the results of both the surveys and available testing infrastructure, a 12-point action has been drawn up

 

On the occasion of ‘National Milk Day’, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released Action Plan for Safe and Quality milk and milk products.

 Subsequent to the release of national milk safety and quality survey report which revealed that only 7 per cent milk samples had contaminants or adulterants that rendered such milk unsafe, FSSAI carried out a survey on milk products. The results of 399 samples analysed so far (out of total 1048) indicate only quality and hygiene concerns in milk products. Major quality concern observed is adulteration with vegetable fats with no concern about presence of heavy metal contaminants. Microbiological concern observed relates to poor hygiene, while no bacterial pathogens have been found. The interim report will soon be published.

 

Taking into consideration the results of both the surveys and available testing infrastructure, a 12-point action has been drawn up to ensure safety and quality of milk and milk products in the country. These actions are broadly in three areas, namely – (1) testing and continued surveillance, (2) preventive and corrective action for implementation and monitoring; and, (3) consumer engagement.

 

For testing and continued surveillance and to upgrade testing infrastructure, several rapid testing and high-end precision test equipment have been provided to States/UTs. In addition, FSSAI has notified NABL accredited private and other public food laboratories for primary, regulatory and surveillance testing which can be used by the States/UTs to complement testing by the state laboratories.

 

As aflatoxin-M1 and antibiotic residues emerged as a major contaminant in milk, various preventive and corrective action are proposed for the stakeholders in milk sector. There is need for extensive capacity building at primary production levels for following Good Dairy Farming Practices through focused training programs in the areas of animal husbandry, animal health and Feed and nutrition.

 

FSSAI also noticed quality issues in milk mostly related to proportion of fat and solid non-fat (SNF) which varies widely by species and depends on breed as well as quality of feed and fodder. This can be improved by proper feeding of Cattle and adopting good farm practices.

 

The milk survey had revealed that even processed milk has both quality and safety concerns which is a serious matter. In this regard, FSSAI has developed and released a harmonized Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI) to be adopted by dairy processing plants for the purpose of monitoring and self-compliance throughout their production chain in order to strengthen their internal controls.

 

FSSAI also emphasizes the dairy plants to undertake fortification of milk with Vitamins A and D which are lost during processing. Since milk is consumed by all population groups, fortification of milk with specified micronutrients is a good strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition.

 

To build up trust of consumers in safety and quality of milk, consumer awareness and engagement programs will be organized throughout the country. This will include dissemination of details about DART book, magic box containing simple tests to be performed at home to check adulteration in milk and Consumer guidance note on milk products. A guidance document on the Hygienic and Safe Practices for Handling of milk products will also be released.  FSSAI has also undertaken a project under joint funding for comprehensive awareness campaign in Punjab through the Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission for improved awareness and knowledge of adulterants in milk and milk products. Learning from this would be extended as well as replicated in different parts of the country based on the outcome and its impact.

 

Finally to address the unorganized sector which has a major share and to address the issue of raw milk quality, FSSAI would launch a “Verified Milk Vendors Scheme” where milk vendors can voluntarily register through online registration portal and would be provided photo-identity card and properly calibrated lactometer. Trainings would be imparted on clean milk practices with periodic sampling and testing of their milk. The hot spot areas identified would help stringent enforcement/surveillance activities. Food Safety Mitras will also be given a mandate to facilitate registration of these vendors at a very nominal cost.  A dedicated portal will be created to facilitate these actions. 

In order to implement the action plan effectively, regional workshops would be organized jointly by FSSAI, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), NDDB, NDRI and food safety departments of the States/UTs.

Taking into consideration the results of both

Dr Ramesh Mittal Director CCS National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, Jaipur


By the year 2050, annual food grain production would need to grow to 333 million tonnes. Despite the fact that the contribution of key food grains in acreage terms in India is 15 per cent, the production contribution is mere 8.7 per cent. This indicates that the use of innovative technology is necessary to meet the forecasted demand in a sustainable manner and move Indian agriculture along the growth path. It’s time to seek the right partnerships that add value through innovations and achieve shared goals through combined efforts.
To adopt innovation we must support Agri start-ups which are potential human capital in the Indian agricultural economy and certainly the right partners for innovation-led agriculture growth. It’s an opportune time to bring them together and inspire them to devise appropriate solutions for agribusiness issues. Innovations by agri start-ups in the form of products, services or applications can be a meaningful solution across the agricultural value chain even for agriculture value addition. Therefore, the efficient use of this talent pool will be a key driver for improving competitiveness in the agriculture sector. However, to realise their true potential, concentrated efforts by the right mix of stakeholders and with clear objectives will help in achieving faster results.
The Indian agriculture identifies the holistic drivers for the agriculture sector – the demand pull, supply side push and an enabling conducive policy environment for its overall growth. While summing up the key trends and future outlook of the sector, the need for disruptive technologies to steer the agriculture sector has been emphasised. Characteristics and categories of start-ups, along with the key challenges faced by them, have been elucidated with a strategic way forward. India has already built a strong name for itself in the global start-up community. It’s time to make agri start-ups successful and propel India forward as a leader in the agri technology sector through innovations.


Agricultural start-ups in India are still at a nascent stage, with a bunch of ‘agripreneurs’ trying to solve multiple emerging problems in the Indian agribusiness ecosystem. The combined revenue of all agritech start-ups in India is estimated to be less than $100 million, which is a drop in the ocean in a market worth more than $350 billion. Thus, the opportunity to scale up and disrupt is huge. India has made a strong name for itself in the global start-up community. It ranks amongst the top five countries in the world in terms of number of start-ups founded. It is estimated that India houses less than 5000 start-ups, creating more than 1,00,000 employment opportunities. By 2021, the number of start-ups in India is projected to increase to more than 12000, with job creation from these entrepreneurs reaching 300,000-400,000 by 2021.


Transforming food processing economy
India continues to be among the top six countries globally, with the highest number of deals in agricultural technology. (The US, Canada, the UK, Israel and France comprise the other five countries.) In 2019, within global investments, Indian agritech start-up firms contributed around 9 per cent, valued at $400 million.
Status and sectoral presence of agri start-ups in India is-
Supply chain • E-distributor • Listing platform • Marketplace
Infrastructure • Growing system and components • Aquaponics • Hydroponics • Drip irrigation
Finance • Payments • Revenue sharing • Lending
Farm data and analytics • Integrated Platform • Remote sensing software platforms • Farm mapping • Farm management solution • Field operations • Information dissemination


Agriculture is the back bone of Indian economy as it supplies raw material for many of the industries and it is the source of livelihood for majority of the rural population in India. There had been innumerable transformations in cultivation practices of crops to suit the demands of the populace. Parallel to that number of innovations were also part of these modifications which were successful in changing the face of Indian agriculture from mere ‘Sip to Mouth’ position to the present proud position of ‘self-sufficiency’ and earning a sizeable amount of foreign exchange from agricultural exports.

However, we cannot be complacent with these achievements as the demand for food is ever mounting due to persistent increase in human and animal population in the country. Hence, it is very much essential to take the stock of the situation and search for new innovations which can enhance the productivity without causing much damage to the environment. Greater scope for further improvement in yields of food grains in India is the strength for Indian agricultural science. Future research needs to concentrate more on climate resilient agriculture safeguarding the natural resource base in order to make our future generations thrive on this living planet


Scope of technology intervention
Value Chain Stage Technology Intervention required in –
Inputs / Knowledge • Getting agriculture inputs directly on phone • Weather forecast through weather apps • Decision support solution for farmers like selling crops at appropriate rates • Pest Management Solution and Nutritional Management Solution • AI based sowing advisories
Harvesting and Transport • GSM Mobile controlled motor • Hi tech irrigation systems like drip, sprinkler etc. • Auto Steering Tractors powered by GPS • Crop Counting Machines • Machine-learning algorithms to differentiate between weeds and crops
Processing and Storage • Machine based Imaging technology to sort based on colour, size, type etc. • Wireless sensor to monitor crops connected with smartphone • Measuring grains moisture content
Distribution, Packaging and Handling • Web and mobile applications to sell directly farm products • Price forecasting model to prevent inflation • Dynamic product pricing • Online marketplace for grain • Using data to track


A number of new start-ups are developing solutions to tackle climate change challenges. For example, Skymet Weather Services is involved in monitoring and predicting weather and providing agri-risk solutions. Skymet can measure and predict yield at the village level for any crop with a high level of accuracy and can also accurately forecast the weather in the short, medium, and long term. Ecozen Solutions has developed state of-the-art solar-powered products for irrigation and cold storage, with the aim of catering to smallholder farms and regions with limited or no electricity. Barrix Agro Sciences offers eco-friendly crop protection methods that have the potential to minimize a significant proportion of the damage caused by pests and diseases without overdosing crops and plants with chemicals, thus preventing soil and water contamination.


There are also ventures that started out as agri-tech start-ups in India but, owing to their innovative solutions, are now operating as medium-scale businesses. EM3 AgriServices, founded in 2014, has quickly risen to become a pioneer in the farming-as-a-service (FaaS) model. EM3’s Samadhan techno kheti centres offer machines needed to perform all critical farm operations on a pay-for-use basis. At their centres, the organization employs agri-professionals who are well versed in the agronomy of the target area. Another such noteworthy venture, eKutir Global, offers an online and mobile based platform to connect marginal farmers with stakeholders across the value chain such as soil-testing labs, suppliers of seeds and fertilizers, banks, exporters, food-processing units, and branded retailers. Agri Suite by eKutir offers a one-stop solution for all the needs of a farmer; their field partners also train farmers to use their application.


Over time, services that go beyond merely selling a product but that also provide training about how to use, maintain, and repair that product, as well as supplementary components such as advisory and marketing services, have become an increasingly important and integral part of any product offering. Technology is playing an important role in bringing these elements together. Despite the tremendous gains achieved, the long-term impact of the earlier technology revolutions was limited to selected agricultural pockets in the country, and further efforts to advance these revolutions lost momentum over time.


In the context of start-ups, the common barriers to commercialization and the scaling up of technology are related to access to finance, which is in turn related to operational finance, funding/capital deficiencies, and cash flow management; gaps in technology infrastructure; and issues concerned with cyber security. Furthermore, limited access to farmer networks for effective piloting of the products is seen to impede the commercialization plans of start-ups. For innovation and entrepreneurship to be effective in transforming agriculture in India, it will be important to address these issues and create an enabling environment in which they can grow and flourish. To a large extent, the effort towards this transformation has been catalysed by the government’s special programme on start-ups, Start-up India. Moreover, large companies with knowledge about the diversity of Indian agriculture could also support these start-ups by mentoring, which would help them pilot and scale up their activities for potential commercialization.


A successful future growth strategy for agriculture will need to perceive agriculture as a business enterprise involving constant innovation and catering to dynamic market demand. Although agricultural technologies are fast evolving in India and a mix of business models are driving the ecosystem, there is a need to design the pathway to successful commercialization and to scale it up by utilizing the right incentives and policy support. Technology will continue to play an important role while the dynamics of the agriculture sector changes and produces new challenges.


With the private sector playing an increasingly important role in investments, operations, and expertise, agriculture will gain immensely as the public sector catalyses these efforts. The IT revolution in India was brought forward by the private sector, with the public sector creating an enabling environment. Uptake of technologies at market prices in a sector that has traditionally been heavily subsidized remains challenging, but farmers are prompt to identify what works in their interest and are ready to pay for it. Digital technologies offer the potential to achieve the necessary conditions for scale, with distributed low cost and customized delivery, creating a unique opportunity for private enterprise and innovation to thrive.


The challenge before India lies in balancing high growth with inclusive growth; leveraging technology to achieve these twin goals will be a fascinating journey to track. A developed agriculture system is based on three key pillars: knowledge, infrastructure, and a robust delivery mechanism. Supporting the research and development ecosystem in agriculture directly contributes to creating knowledge and preparing for the future. To strengthen the supporting framework for growth, it will be important to focus on creating new physical markets, improving storage and transport facilities, making better roads, and ensuring a continued electricity and water supply.

These system components also facilitate efficient mechanisms for delivery and the monitoring of relevant government schemes and extension services that will accelerate the pace of development. The public policy regime in India has been supporting technology-led agricultural growth and has been increasingly developing new institutions to ease access and affordability of technology adoption among farmers.

Dr Ramesh Mittal Director CCS National Institute of Agricultural

By H. P. Singh, Founder and Chairman, Confederation of Horticulture Associations of India, (CHAI), New Delhi.

Agriculture development in the past has been means of food and raw material, which is now seen as means of employment-led economic goals, alleviation of poverty and self–reliance through its linkages and a multiplier effect. Globalisation of agriculture has opened up new opportunities and also the challenges of stiffer competition. The challenge thus demanded for adjustment of the structure of the economy to resonate with internal stipulation. Thus, diversification to horticulture has emerged as the best option, to address nutritional adequacy, employment opportunities, farm income enhancement and use of natural resources and above all, for Enhancing farmers’ income and promoting enterprises.

The emerging trend worldwide and also in the country is indicative of a paradigm shift in dietary needs of the people, with rise in the income and urbanisation, demanding more horticultural produce. In the scenario, where more than 300 million people are malnourished, while millions of people are below poverty line, there is need for improving quality of life through food and nutritional security. The trend of development in the past especially during the last decade has been satisfying. Adoption of horticultural crops in systematic manner has improved quality of life of people in many of the regions of the country. Horticulture, generally referred as gardening, has expanded in its scope and activities, moving from rural confine to commercialisation, and is providing best option for land use, nutritional security, employment opportunity, health care and above all environmental services. Indian, horticulture development has five phases of growth, characterised by pleasantry and hobby in pre-independent India, has transformed now through adoption of innovations in fifth phase of growth, heralding Golden Revolution. Expanding horticulture is demanding knowledge, skills, and technologies for growing plants intensively to achieve efficient, profitable and competitive horticultural industry.

The sector includes a wide variety of crops under different groups such as fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushroom, spices, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, nuts, plantation crops including coconut and oil palm. Government of India has accorded high priority for the development of this sector, particularly, since the VIII Plan-and beyond, which has impacted production, reaching to 311.7 million tonnes in 2017-18 from 96 million in 1990-91, contributing 34.45 per cent to the AGDP only from 11 per cent area. This trend of development in horticulture has been termed as Golden Revolution. However, challenges to feed growing population suiting to their dietary needs and nutritional requirements, is demanding science and technology led development, backed by enabling environments and resource utilisation strategies. Change in dynamics of horticulture is now for health care through the use of horticultural produce for the treatment of many diseases, therapy, and environmental services and above all to the improved quality of life of the people living in rural as well as in urban areas. The paradigm necessitates for knowledge empowered human resources, who can provide leadership in technology development and policy formulation to attract investment and keep the pace of development.

Most significant change in the last two decades has been the use of technologies and private sector investment for production system management. Impact of change in technologies like new cultivars, use of micro irrigation, improved quality seeds and plants and production system management is visible in terms of increased production productivity, availability and export. Undoubtedly, horticulture sector has moved dynamically despite numerous challenges and shortcomings, and is in crucial phase of development needing initiatives for sustainable development. To achieve the targeted production, of 360 in the year 2020-21and 451 million  tonnes in the year 2022-23, stipulated vertical growth will be required through the use of new cultivars, efficient water and nutrient management, effective plant health management coupled with strategies for reduced post-harvest losses and empowered human resources. This will require appropriate innovations and investment. Protected cultivation has shown yield enhancement up to 4 times, which is a potential technology to achieve vertical growth, but would need investment and technological upgradation. Plant architectural engineering and management can mitigate the problem associated with seasonality in many crops and the enhanced efficiency in water management, utilising modern techniques, shall reduce water stress. Since, horticulture provides variability and has potential to adjust in different agro-climatic situation, technology-led development is inevitable, where in horticulture education to empower the youth with new knowledge becomes essential.

Recognising the need for specialised Human Resource in horticulture, first College of Horticulture was established in the year 1972, in Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Kerala, for strengthening research and extension activities in horticulture. Thereafter, faculties of horticulture were added to majority of agricultural universities. Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, is the first horticultural university, which earned a unique distinction, not only in the country, but also in whole of Asia to impart teaching, research and extension education in horticulture, forestry and allied disciplines with Himalayan perspective. This University provided an insight for the establishment of horticultural University in the country, with its relevance in given agro-climatic situations. There are 7 horticultural University exclusively for the horticultural education, and the Dr YSR Horticultural University, Venkataramannagudam, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, is one of the best, with the objectives to enhance the growth of horticulture sector by providing leadership in teaching, research and extension services in horticulture and allied sciences through continuous innovations and assimilation of emerging technology. Recognising the benefits from Horticultural University, many of the states are planning for new university with focus on horticulture.

This is befitting occasion to talk about education, which is so critical to development. National Agricultural Education Systems, which had led to the development of human resources, is a key to transformation in agriculture and horticulture. But needs and relevance continue to change, thus education system has to be dynamic, vibrant and responsible. Many of disruptive technologies are becoming important, to improve ability to take up important task and challenges. The employment situation has also changed dramatically, job in public sector have declined but opportunities have emerged in corporate sector and also for self-employment. It is often said to produce graduates who can be observed in the industry. Today, in many businesses, people talk about not having enough talent, and there are lots of graduates looking for jobs. This is a disconnect. How do we bridge this divide and provide the kind of people industry requires? The situation demands for reorientation of the curriculum to provide the skills to meet the challenges.

In this context value added agricultural education is becoming important which is not merely a transfer of knowledge but also a skillful management of knowledge for getting maximum output, sustainability in production and a clear augmentation of employment opportunities. This will help in building confidence for starting one’s own enterprise. Education is never an end in itself. Learning is a life time process. Education should be comprehensive, holistic, all-encompassing to embark on a journey to self -development and self fulfilment. From candidates fresh out of college we except good analytical skills. A candidate, who can logically analyse and deduce solutions from a given set of facts, can work on the technical problems that we face every day.

The overall stocks of horticultural human resources required to meet the requirements of various segments of horticulture have been projected to keep pace with the development.It is assed that the stock requirement of human capital in horticulture sector would grow to about 95,902 by the year 2020, which was about 62,583 in 2009-10. The estimated demand-supply scenario in 2020 will be that demand (95,902) will far exceed the supply by 26,030 leaving the gap of about 73 per cent, if new facilities of horticultural education are not created. The students coming out  of the universities/colleges do lack professional skills and need help especially those, who are interested and have aptitude to start their own enterprises. Accordingly, skill development for attending to demanding jobs in horticulture is very important. Starting of diploma, certificates and polytechnic courses for specific skills of horticulture aims to reduce the gap between demand and supply.
National Agriculture Policy 2000 categorically emphasised on integrated development of horticulture, which should be knowledge based, technology driven and farmers’-centric. The policy also emphasised on rural institutions, reforms and development of infrastructure. But, there is no policy document for horticulture, however focus has been given on post-harvest management in the policy paper of food processing industries. Most notably policy change is related to storage, processing and marketing of horticultural produce. Backward and forward linked marketing with reform in agriculture produce marketing act, encouragement for contract farming are some of the important policy changes which are likely to impart production, quality and competitiveness of horticultural produce. Other area of reform needed is in aggregating of land law, which can help in better investment as well as adoption of technology. To enhance the delivery there is a need for innovations in PPP mode for its better adoption in horticulture.
The main challenges to horticulture sector have been the investment and capital, access to technology and the initial learning curve to develop the required skills. An attempt to address many of the issues was made through mission mode approach to horticulture by launching of Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in NE region including Sikkim, in the year 1999. Based on impact and success of this Mission, a stepping stone, it was was extended to Himalayan states, in 2003, and with objective of doubling production of horticultural crops, as announced on 15th August, 2003, by the then Honourable Prime Minister, the National Horticulture Mission was launched for rest of the country in 2005. Both these Mission continued and was merged subsequently for continuance as Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture. National Programme in Mission mode in horticulture as well as on Micro-irrigation ushered in horticulture revolution referred to as Golden Revolution, in the country, providing opportunity for the farmers to enhance farm income and attract educated youth to farming, as horticulture has proved to be economically rewarding and intellectually satisfying. In call of the nation for doubling farmers’ income horticulture has been identified to be a prime mover in achieving the goal.

With a surge in the middle and upper income group in the population, demand for fresh fruits and vegetables is bound to increase several folds. In this context, in addition to more food, the young, rich and urban population would demand diversified nutritious and safe food of high quality, and as a result of this there will be pressure on supply of horticulture produce. The report of committee on Doubling Farmers Income (DFI), 2018, estimated that by the year 2022-23, production level of 451 million tonnes has to be achieved (Fig. 1). The report states that it can be achieved through 2.8 per cent increase in area and 3.1 per cent in productivity. It is achievable, as evident that, from the year 2000 to 2016, horticulture sector has growth rate of 5.8 per cent owing to technological changes, investment and policy environment. Many new technologies of seeds and planting material, drip and fertigation, greenhouse, hydroponics, marketing models and quality assurance through branding have been adopted and the success stories are replicated. Past trend shows that targeted production of 360 million MT at the end of 2020, envisaged in the year 2000, is achievable, as we have reached to production of 311. 7 million tonnes in 2017-18.
Thus, there are options of opportunities and challenges, which will need attention. The issues to be addressed are: Innovations in technologies through institutional support as well as import of knowledge and technological backed by the development through skills. Development strategies should be for cluster approach linked with post-harvest management and marketing, quality seeds and planting material, precision farming and smart horticulture, environmentally controlled horticulture, efficient management of nutrients and water, and enhanced ICT use to add efficiency to input management including use of Block Chain Technology and artificial intelligence and knowledge transfer.

(Image.1)

 

Fig. 1- Targeted in document “Perspective of Horticulture”, Ministry of Agriculture, 2000, Target made in respect of DFI, 2017. Estimated with assumption of changes, dietary needs, urbanization, population growth, income and trend in growth, 2011, report submitted to Planning Commission.



It is evident that there is a fast changing technologies and also the inspiration of the people. Therefore, the following need due consideration:

Modern production system may be adopted focusing on smart management system to maximise the output with given inputs like nutrient, water, plant care etc.
Integrated water management may be adopted with focus on Source to Root, to improve productivity of water, considering that water is most critical in horticulture.
The micro-irrigation may be classified as priority infrastructure to benefit farmers. Micro irrigation may be invariably promoted with fertigation.
Protected cultivation, hydroponic & aeroponic must be adopted for improving productivity and quality of produce. Focus or Renewable energy will help in reducing the cost of energy.
Infrastructure, talented faculties and required land resources for research and enterprise development must be with the university to provide required support to development.

Epilogue

Horticulture, which was a pleasantry before independence of the country has moved from the rural confine to commercialisation with the turn of the century, keeping a growth rate of 5.86 per cent with increasing demand, after 2000, referred to as Golden Revolution, and is projected to grow above 6 per cent, to achieve doubling of farmers’ income, food and nutritional security, health care and environmental services. The achievements in horticulture till date are attributed to infrastructure for the research, investment of government with a mission mode approach and enabling policy initiatives. With the projected growth, development is happening with innovative models of technology and its adoption, and the targeted production is achievable, but, not in usual mode of approach. The mission approach, which was envisaged to address all the issues in links of the chain from production to consumption in integrated manner, has proved to be more successful in achieving the goals.

However, there are concerns about competitiveness, which calls for efficiency in all the activities, starting from conceptualisation to production, post-harvest and cold chain management, transportation, marketing and brand management till it reaches to consumers. This calls for Value Chain Development and Management with enhanced water productivity to benefit all the players in the chain and provide the produce to the consumer as per their requirement. Therefore, it is imperative that horticulture be declared as priority sector for investment and mission for Smart horticulture be launched with focus on value chain development and management on priority, which will go in long way as a prime mover of economic growth providing employment, food and nutritional security and environmental services and above all availability of produce as per the needs both for domestic and export market.

In this context, Block Chain Technology of Management, Artificial intelligence and Environmental Controlled Technologies would be inevitable. Accordingly, skill development has to keep pace with Demand, and the University has to play most significant role in years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By H. P. Singh, Founder and Chairman,

By Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

 India continues to be world’s largest milk producer with an estimated milk production of about 188 million tonnes in 2018-19, growing at about 6.5 per cent during last five years. India now accounts for over one-fifth of world milk production and its estimated per capita availability of milk at 394 grams is more than the world average of around 300 grams per day. Milk is now the single largest agricultural commodity surpassing even the total value of output of food grains in the country.

The share of agriculture & allied sectors in total Gross Value Added (GVA) was 17.2 per cent during 2017-18 at current prices and livestock contributing 28.4 per cent to agriculture & allied sector. Within livestock, milk group is an important economic activity accounting for about 67 per cent of the value of output in 2017-18.

Small holder dairy system

Milk production in India is primarily a small holder activity based on family labour contributed by women and crop residue with very little cultivated fodder. About 63 million of rural households are engaged in milk production, of which 90 per cent belong to the landless, marginal and small category owning about 85 per cent of the female bovines and 53 per cent of the farm land.  About 80 per cent of these animal owners own about 1-3 animals.

Dairying can be an effective tool for poverty alleviation in the hinterlands, as animal assets are more equitably distributed than farm lands. According to the Situation Assessment of Farmers (NSSO, 2013) data and a study by the Institute of Economic Growth, 1 per cent increase in share of income from “cultivation” and “non-farm business” will lead to increase in income inequality by 2.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, whereas 1 per cent increase in share of income from “animal farming” will reduce income inequality by 1.2 per cent.

Dairying is considered as the most important subsidiary activity, which provides an occupation and steady source of income in all seasons, even when the cultivation fails due to vagaries of nature. It also contributes to the livelihood of the poor in many ways – income from products, insurance against drought, emergency cash requirements, household nutrition, fuel for cooking, manure for crops and draught power for farming, etc. Low capital investment, short operating cycle, steady returns make dairying a preferred livelihood activity among the small and marginal farmers. 

Income from dairying

As per the report on Situation Assessment of Farmers, animal farming contributes 12 per cent to the rural income and 85 per cent of income from “animal farming” is reported from milk alone. It contributes significantly to the rural income of poorest farmers’ (farmers with less than 0.01 Ha of land holding) – about 26 per cent. Highest growth was registered in receipts from livestock from 4.3 per cent to 11.9 per cent between 2002-03 and 2012-13, while the contribution from both non-farm business and wages & salaries declined over this period. This was true, especially in states that showed overall higher real income growth.


Increased access to market through producer owned and controlled institutions helps in realizing better price by farmers for their milk. Dairy cooperatives are paying back about 70 per cent of consumer rupee to the dairy farmers – one of the highest across the world.

Reduction of Feed cost

Innovation across the supply chain would help in realizing more income from dairying. Feed cost is the major cost in dairying as it accounts for about 70 per cent of the total cost of production. NDDB is committed in reduction in cost of feed and improve the profitability of farmers. Feeding a balanced ration leads to an increase in daily net income in the range of Rs 15-25 per animal through reduced feed costs and increased milk-fat. Ethno Veterinary medicines have proved beneficial in reducing veterinary expenditure to great extent and thus improving realization in income from dairying. By providing direct market access to milk producers through farmer owned, managed and controlled institutions the gross receipt has increased by Rs 6 per in-milk animal per day – primarily due to relatively higher price paid in comparison to others.

Bovine Manure Management

NDDB has recently taken an initiative for bovine manure management using flexi-biogas technology to augment income of dairy farmers. Effective management of manure through collectives of women farmers owning biogas plants not only can save expenditure on cooking fuel, but the farmers also sell surplus gas to neighbouring households. Under two central sector schemes i.e. National Dairy Plan and New National Biogas & Organic Manure Program, 6,000 farmers are being covered for subsidized biogas plants for an additional income source from manure & output slurry from biogas plants.

Demand growth

Milk and milk products have one of the highest income elasticity of demand amongst food commodity groups and therefore the demand is likely to increase rapidly as the economy grows and incomes rises. The dairy farmers, especially affiliated to producer owned intuitions would benefit further, as they being major stakeholders in the organised supply chain, will have comparatively better bargaining power.

Three drivers of demand – growth in population, urbanization and income together are mainly contributing to rise in demand of milk and milk products. Further, factors such as consumers’ preference for high protein diets, increasing awareness, availability of dairy products through organised channels, etc. are also driving this growth.

Dairy Cooperatives

The Operation Flood (OF), the world’s largest dairy development programme implemented by NDDB demonstrated that a small holder dairy system linked to the Anand pattern cooperative network can help achieve self-sufficiency in milk production and augment farmers’ income.

Currently, there are over 1, 90,000 village dairy cooperative societies with about 169 lakh farmers affiliated to it in 480 districts spread over 28 states. These dairy cooperatives collectively procure about 510 lakh kg of milk per day and sell about 355 lakh litres of liquid milk daily.

Further, NDDB is implementing National Dairy Plan Phase I (NDP I), a scientifically planned multi-state initiative through End Implementing Agencies (EIAs) in 18 major milk producing states, which together account for more than 90 per cent of the country’s milk production. The major objectives of this plan are i) increasing productivity of milk animals to help increase milk production to meet the rapidly growing demand for milk; and ii) providing rural milk producers with greater access to the organised milk processing sector.

NDP-I has brought in a slew of production enhancement technologies which includes production of high genetic merit bulls, strengthening existing semen stations/starting new stations, improving nutrition of milk animals through ration balancing and fodder development programme and also setting up of pilot model for viable doorstep Artificial insemination (AI) delivery services, which contributes to the sustainable dairy development in the country. With these interventions, it will be possible to make our milk production system sustainable so that our country remains self-sufficient in milk and be enable to feed the world’s most populated country in the next two decades or so.

Livelihood opportunities

India’s growing demand for milk can help provide livelihood opportunities for millions of rural households. Income in the rural areas can further be enhanced by providing dairy farmers access to organised markets. It has been experienced that simply providing market access even in low milk potential areas induces milk production and surplus. While dairy has played and would continue to play a significant role in securing the food and nutritional security of millions of our countrymen, government policies providing an enabling environment along with government funded programmes and schemes would continue to help augmenting income of dairy farmers.

 

By Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development

The Fund invests in innovation driven growth ventures with potential to transform the agri produce and market ready food products

Innovation in Food and Agriculture Fund managed by Sathguru Catalyser Advisors commits investment up to 4 million Dollars for minority holding in Telluris Biotech India Private Limited, an early stage life sciences company focused on bringing to market path breaking environment sensitive biological control products for the dreaded Plant root knot and cyst nematode related disease complexes. The proprietary biological and bio-molecular products have potential to provide significant savings to crop growers.

Commenting on the commission  Venu Polineni, the Founder of Telluris Biotech India Pvt. Ltd., said, “We are excited to propel our growth to markets with investment from Innovation in Food and Agriculture Fund, the sector focused fund that is a best fit for us to advance our innovation in global markets. Our foray to markets will provide unparalleled environment friendly biocontrol and biomolecular products to farmers in India and elsewhere who face severe challenges from the root knot, cyst nematodes and plant root pathogens. Our extensive research based innovative solutions will result in the farmers’ efforts to protect their crops and enhance yield significantly.”

“Our investment in Telluris is a contribution towards sustainable agriculture with science-based solutions that can provide true health and environment benefit to growers. We perceive the opportunity for Telluris to provide gains to growers through their pipeline of products that are uniquely positioned to application in wide range of crops,” said Mr. Krishna Kumar, Chairman of Sathguru Catalysers.

Innovation in Food and Agriculture Fund is India focused investment Fund sponsored by Sathguru Management Consultants. The Fund invests in innovation driven growth ventures with potential to transform the agri produce and market ready food products.

 

The Fund invests in innovation driven growth

The ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar in association with Darbar Sahitya Sansad (DSS), NGO launched the “Bhargabi Fish Farmers Producers Company Limited” at Naroda, Khordha in recent.  

The Chief Guest, Dr. Basudeb Behera, Professor & Head, Agronomy, Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneswar urged for adopting the innovative practices in cultivation of vegetables and other crops. 

Dr Manas K. Sinha, Senior Executive Director, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad apprised the participants about various schemes on freshwater aquaculture. He mentioned about Brood bank facilities, capacity building programmes being implemented by NFDB. Dr Sinha regarded the Blue Revolution Scheme as a bouquet of schemes to support the fish farmers. He also encouraged the farmers for coming up with the good proposals for consideration of funding by NFDB.

Padmanava Chaudhury, Director of Bhargabi Fish Farmers Producers Company Limited acknowledged the support of CIFA, NABARD and other stakeholders in establishing the FPO. 

Dr G.S. Saha, HoD, ICAR-CIFA encouraged the farmers for forming the aggregate. Dr Saha accentuated on the great role of the FPOs right from the production to marketing of the produce and in disseminating the market information, technology and innovations.

 The dignitaries also released the Publication on Farmers’ First project operated by ICAR-CIFA. The dignitaries launched Bhargabi Fish Farmers Producers Company Limited. Earlier, Kedareswar Choudhury, Secretary, Darbar Sahitya Sansad welcomed the guests.

 Six selected farmers were felicitated during the occasion for their contribution in aggregating the producers and forming the FPOs.Around 150 farmers including 90 women participated in the meet.

The ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar

Dr C. D. Mayee Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board- Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ASRB-ICAR), New Delhi

 Indian Agriculture is a vital sector of the national economy with nearly 50 percent population engaged in crop agriculture and allied fields. India’s 1.3 billion population, 17.9 per cent of the global population, lives on 2.4 per cent land and 5 per cent water resources of the world. Despite being highly populous, India has made remarkable strides in agricultural production since independence. India’s agriculture is often quoted as a success story.

India ranks second in the world in agricultural production as a leading producer of several commodities like food grains, cotton, spices, fruits, vegetables, dairy, poultry, aquaculture etc. After self-sufficiency in food grain production in early eighties the country witnessed periodical revolutions in all allied sectors. Except vegetable oils, India has achieved true independence in agricultural production. As per the latest estimates from Government of India, the country is likely to produce record production of food grains (285 metres) – rice (116.5 metres), wheat (102.2 metres) and pulses (24 metres). Interestingly the yesteryears policies of promotion of horticulture under Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) have paid rich dividends as the country’s horticulture production has surpassed that of food grains for the seventh consecutive year in a row. It was 310 metres from only 25 million hectares of land in 2017. This was achieved even though there was no dramatic rise in cultivated area or irrigation. Such efforts of diversification have now become India’s inherent strength in agriculture. No country grows as many crops as India cultivates. Family managed small farms and their crop-livestock/fisheries or alternative agriculture type of mixed farming systems and many other specialities are unique to Indian agriculture.

 The success of this kind has come after a long struggle by agriculture researchers, development agencies and of course, the Farmers. The history of agriculture development clearly spells out the contributions of all these stakeholders but specifically mentions the unstinted support of policy makers and the politicians since Independence. Agrarian revolutions, like the green, yellow, golden, white and blue, are a matter of national pride. 

Current Challenges

It is said that in agriculture ‘Past is Perfect, present is imperfect and future is tense.’ The population is expected to grow to nearly 1.7 billion by 2050. Nearly 55 per cent of them shall reside in cities, so urbanization shall alter the food demands to diversified basket. The projections for food grains and other items to meet that demand are enhancing the production by 40 per cent by then. This is already constrained by depleting soil health, issue of crop health due to newer pests, diseases & weeds, climate change and the yield gaps. Major issue today is apathy of the farmers towards farming as they feel it to be a no more a remunerative business.

Therefore, the twin challenge today is to raise productivity to meet the demand of growing population coupled with making the farming remunerative for farmers. Farming has to pursue dual purpose, to ensure both food security of the nation as well as income security of the growers and it has to be achieved without disturbing environment and natural resources.

India is said to be the fastest growing economy. However, its nearly 20 crore people live below poverty line, 40 per cent are suffering from malnutrition, 42 per cent children are underweight and 13 lakh of them die before their first birthday. Therefore, the so-called development in the life of rural inhabitants depresses all of us. This obviously points the finger at the mismatch between resource allocation, governance, management and our developmental claims.

Low national productivity and high regional production disparity can be met with efforts to give quality farm inputs like water, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds etc. and ensuring their judicious use. Farmers need to be encouraged to shift to high value commodities in horticulture, fisheries, animal production and so on. Too much emphasis on production and procurement over the years shows that we are unnecessarily obsessed with food security in spite of the fact that our storages are full with food grains.

Innovative Solutions

Research and development in India after independence has helped to grow the per capita production and has gone a long way easing the pressure on meeting the food and nutritional requirement securities. Let us remember that this was the impressive contributions made by agricultural scientists in the past. Unfortunately, the system is under stress with lack of clarity over where to focus and financial resources. Our past experience should be enough for us to keep faith in our R&D systems. They have potential to mitigate the challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity, small farming issues, and market reforms for the benefit of farmers. According to ICAR-NAIP study, returns to investment on research have been found to be highly paying proposition. Internal rate of return on investment in agricultural research is estimated to be more than 42 per cent, which is much higher than any other sector. Then what prevents us from investing in this sector? Investment in generation of new technologies which have direct implications on proper and efficient use of resources, needs to be enhanced. So also in teaching and extension programme. The gap in financial commitments made at the beginning of the plan period and thereafter in annual plans is widening. It is constraining to take the research programmes to the logical conclusions.

To improve productivity and profitability in a sustainable manner our policy needs to be changed from input intensive to technology intensive; rather skill intensive agriculture. In recent years the benefits of new technologies have been experienced and still we are not open to adopt those technologies. For example, GM seeds for Cotton, Mustard, Maize, Brinjal Rice, Groundnut etc. Hybrid technologies in maize, vegetables, conservative agriculture, system of rice intensification (SRI), precision farming, farm mechanization, hi-tech cultivation of fruits, vegetables & flowers, primary and secondary processing introduced in farm produce and many other technologies have already shown that they can deliver the goals of meeting the objectives of higher productivity and profitability. The traditional breeding of crops is now supplemented by new biotechnological innovations like gene editing, genome rewriting, speed breeding. The scientists need to encourage to do research in modern technology areas.

GM seeds have emerged as a powerful new technology promising high productivity with less use of natural resources and also chemicals in the last two decades. The GM technologies have gained increasing acceptance around the world. The technologies are likely to play useful role in addressing some of the intractable problems that the current methods of improvements in stocks of crops, animals and fisheries, cannot answer. It is also worth noting that the new methods and materials are being discovered practically every day in production of new GM seeds that are bio-environment safe and largely acceptable. As a part of strategy therefore, to bring second evergreen revolution, India must return to permitting proven and well–tested GM technology with adequate safeguards. When we are importing heavily the vegetable oils, still we stop the entry of GM mustard is a fact not easy to digest. The technologies may also be useful in groundnut, pigeon pea, chick pea and some other oilseeds and pulse to resolve the intractable biotic and abiotic problems that are hampering the productivity of these crops.

Doubling Income of Farmers 

The major challenge is to double the income of farmers in three years, rather making the farming remunerative so that the young generation may be attracted towards it. Today’s paradox is that on one side we have enough production, stores are full, middlemen and consumers are happy that they get what they want at reasonable prices but on the other hand the farmers are driven to suicides as they are unable to  maintain their families on their farm income. We have adopted a classical model of minimum support price (MSP) for a long time to help farmers from price distress and market fluctuations. We are also ensuring to fix the prices above the cost of cultivation. Unfortunately, MSP operation is limited to states and crops.  For perishable goods it is difficult to be used. Therefore, the farmers are throwing the vegetables, milk and such perishable commodities on road as a protest for better returns. To improve the share of farmers in the price paid by consumers, a different strategy has to be adopted. The solution lies in market reforms and altering the structure of APMC Act.  Model APMC act has never been implemented in spite of several efforts made in the past. The all-round market reforms can ensure better price through direct negotiations between the producer and consumer.

There are several good examples of such marketing reforms, which are needed to be universally implemented. Similarly, the Essential Commodity Act has created an environment of uncertainty and discourages entry of large players into agriculture infrastructure in the country. Maharashtra has shown the way as to how small holder farmers can come together in the form of ‘Gatsheti’ (Farmers’ Producing Groups) that can scale up production and then bargain for remunerative price returns, a win-win situation for both, the farmer and consumer.  

Investment and Technology

Investment and technology creation are two major drivers of growth. A major cause of present agrarian crisis is somewhere lies in inadequate investment in agriculture sector and restrictions on the use of modern technologies.

Investments in farm connectivity, irrigation facilities, roads, markets, cold storages, rapid transportation for perishables coupled with development of new technologies to improve resource use efficiency could mitigate the current agrarian distress. Unfortunately, investment in agriculture R&D has been reduced from 0.8 to 0.4 per cent of total agricultural GDP. Considering that there is a resource crunch which will continue then it is imperative to prioritize the resources to ensure their optimum allocation and use.

The current focus of R&D investment appears to be misplaced. If we do not invest in new generation technologies instead of evaluating, promoting and exploring the traditional ones then we will be too far behind the world. Similarly, any delay in agricultural investment is going to be costly to meet the goal of doubling farmers’ income.

 

Dr C. D. Mayee Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists

The 5th edition of The Pulses Conclave will be held at Aamby Valley City, Lonavala from February 12th to 14th, 2020

Mumbai, November 6, 2019: India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India’s pulses trade and industry today announced that the 5th edition THE PULSES CONCLAVE, their biennial global pulses conference will be held from Feb. 12th to 14th, 2020 at Amby Valley City in Lonavala, Maharashtra. IPGA expects close to 1500 trade stakeholders from India and key pulses exporting countries like USA, Australia, Canada, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, etc. to participate in The Pulses Conclave 2020 (TPC 2020).

 The Pulses Conclave 2020, as a part of its agenda will not just discuss increasing domestic production and consumption but will also bring to fore other areas of the trade like Improving Processing efficiencies, increasing Consumption, Exports, Value Addition, Protein Extraction, Post-harvest Crop Management, etc.

 Mr. Pradeep Ghorpade, Chief Executive Officer, IPGA said, “The Conclave programme typically is built around dissemination of global and domestic pulses production numbers, global and domestic prices, supply and demand scenarios. However, at TPC 2020, while covering these aspects of the trade, IPGA is looking to go beyond and IPGA’s focus, by the end of the Conclave, will be to try and put together a roadmap that will help the Indian Pulses Trade be able to contribute to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of making India a $ 5 trillion economy through retail sale of pulses, processed pulses, pulse derivates and value additions, all  of which will drive investments in the entire value chain.”

 Pulses are the key source of proteins in India and IPGA believes that apart from addressing the availability of pulses ensuring affordability of pulses is equally important. The Indian Government needs to work to creating a plan that allows both farmers and consumers to be benefitted. IPGA will be engaging with the Government to pursue the inclusion of Pulses in the PDS to make the affordable for the BPL population, leading to an increase in demand and drive increase in production.

 The Indian Government over the  last year and half has introduced a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers on the import of pulses to ensure that farmers get appropriate prices for their produce and are encouraged to try and increase domestic production levels. IPGA will be stepping up its efforts in engaging with key Ministries like Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Health & Family Welfare, Commerce to discuss various initiatives to devise and implement programs that yield win-win results for farmers as well as consumers. 

 Mr. Jitu Bheda, Chairman – IPGA speaking on the occasion said, “Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision is to double the farmers income by the year 2022 and a huge effort has been put into achieving the same. The result has been that India’s pulses production has steadily grown every year from around 19 million tons in 2013-14 to 23 million tons in 201-19 and the target for 2019-20 is of 26.30 million tons. IPGA’s agenda and road map going forward will be to encourage its members to take advantage of the increased domestic production, balance imports vis-à-vis the production and demand thereby ensuring that the Indian consumer does not face any availability crunch nor high retail prices.” 

The 5th edition of The Pulses Conclave

According to the estimate of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), cotton production is likely to increase 13.6% to 35.5 million bales (170kg) for the October 2019-to-September 2020 season

 

High cotton production due to more-than-average rainfall in the country and increased sowing by farmers may closely impact prices. According to the estimate of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), cotton production is likely to increase 13.6% to 35.5 million bales (170kg) for the October 2019-to-September 2020 season. Area under cotton cultivation has increased by 6 per cent  y-o-y during the current season, said India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) in its latest report. 

It is also to be noted that India’s raw cotton exports fell by 75% during 1HFY20 owing to high domestic prices and the availability of cheaper cotton from Brazil, the US and Vietnam, hence, the prices will take a hit, the Ind-Ra report mentioned. 

 The report also highlighted the trends in the sub-segments of the textile sector, including cotton, man-made fibres, yarns, fabric with a focus on commodity prices, imports/exports, production and recent rating actions. 

Reduction in cotton prices

Cotton prices witnessed a moderate reduction in September 2019, with the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) buying at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan. CCI has purchased approximately 1.2 million bales (around 1 per cent) of the total arrival in the ongoing cotton season (October 2019-September 2020). The cotton crop in Maharashtra is estimated to be delayed, as unseasonal rains damaged around 1.9 million bales in the state. The damaged crop is estimated to fetch prices that would be 30-35 per cent lower than the MSP (Minimum Support Price) due to high moisture content.

 The spinning industry saw disruptions in production in 2QFY20 owing to reduced demand and volatility in cotton prices. While demand from China demand improved marginally in August and September 2019, a further improvement would be healthier for the spinning industry, which has been facing margin pressure and low capacity utilisations.

 Manmade fibres (MMF) saw the second consecutive month of stabilisation on the back of stable crude prices; however, the short-term instability in prices in September 2019, following the attack on the refinery of Aramco, Saudi Arabia, led to temporary pressure on the margins of synthetic fibres. With the recovery of the attacked oil sites, crude prices returned to stable levels, with a corresponding impact on MMF prices. 

Rise in fabric export

Fabric exports improved in 1HFY20 owing to an improvement in the quality of Indian fabrics and addition of newer markets. During 1HFY20, exports amounted to INR124.89 billion (1HFY19: INR116.11 billion), with the main markets being Bangladesh (19 per cent), Afghanistan (7.4 per cent) and Sri Lanka (6.2 per cent).

A sharp rise in imports of cheap apparel from Bangladesh has rendered the Indian textile value chain uncompetitive. Readymade garments recorded de-growth of 14 per cent mom in September 2019 due to a steep fall in demand from the US and UK.

According to the estimate of Cotton Corporation

UPL Limited (“UPL”), has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% shares of Yoloo (Laoting) Bio-technology Co.Ltd. (“Laoting Yoloo”), an agrochemical company based in Heibei Province, China,

UPL Limited (“UPL”), through one of its subsidiaries at Hong Kong, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% shares of Yoloo (Laoting) Bio-technology Co.Ltd. (“Laoting Yoloo”), an agrochemical company based in Heibei Province, China, from Beijing YolooBio-Technology Corp., (“Beijing Yoloo”) and  to issue 25% shares out of its Subsidiary to Beijing Yoloo.

Laoting Yoloo Bio-technology Co, Ltd has more than 100 product registrations, about 1200 distributor contacts, and 240+ employees. The closing of the transaction is conditional upon receiving certain regulatory approvals and fulfilling other conditions.

As world’s largest food producer, China is an important market for UPL. Laoting Yoloo has built strong  relationships with multinational companies over many years and has developed a large customer base.

As a UPL affiliate, Laoting Yoloo will benefit from UPL’s progressive offerings, broad financial  resources, global footprint, product technology, manufacturing know-how, and leading market presence.

UPL will gain from Laoting Yoloo’s broad distribution base, product registrations and access to the  Chinese domestic market creating a strong footprint for growth in China. The company also intends to  optimize Laoting Yoloo’s manufacturing facilities to augment our global production capabilities.

UPL will build on the relationships that Laoting Yoloo has cultivated and serve their customers with a wider portfolio.

 Open network for agriculture

Commenting on the acquisition, UPL’s Global CEO Jai Shroff said, “Through our purpose “Open Ag”, our goal is to create an open network for agriculture, activating connections across the world’s agriculture system. It aims to power new levels of sustainable growth – for farmers, for producers, for customers, for partners and for societies everywhere. UPL’s acquisition of Laoting Yoloo will enhance our ability to achieve this purpose”.

Shroff further added: “Farmers need technologies that help them to be more resilient and enhance  performance even in the face of climate change, and to meet the increasing demands of ever more complex food systems”.

With over five decades of experience working with smallholder farmers, UPL has a deep understanding  of farmer needs worldwide and is very excited about the prospect of bringing its platform of technologies to Chinese farmers. UPL will offer broader choice, greater value and increased sustainability to food  growers in China, helping to contribute towards greater food security for the world.

About UPL

UPL is a leader in global food systems and with the acquisition of Arysta LifeScience, is now one of the top 5 agricultural solutions companies worldwide. With a proforma revenue of US$ 4.7 billion, UPL has a presence in over 130 countries. With market access to 90 percent of the world’s food basket and focused on high-growth regions, UPL represents a compelling value proposition for growers, distributors, suppliers and innovation partners in a consolidating market. The company offers an integrated portfolio of both patented and post-patent agricultural solutions for various arable and specialty crops, including  biological, crop protection, seed treatment and post-harvest solutions covering the entire crop value chain.

UPL Limited (“UPL”), has entered into a

The conference to host innovative trends and technologies addressing various changes involved at agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry through sustainable solutions evidenced by international experts

The International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Environment – ICAFE 2019 has been organized by V Sivaram Research Foundation, Bangalore, India between 27th to 29th Nov 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The conference aims to propose viable solutions to problems emerging due to persistent climate change globally. With the objective of serving foster communication among researchers and practitioners working in various scientific areas with a common interest in achieving a sustainable environment and climate resilience, the forum encourages global innovators and experts at Agri-tech to share their expertise during the conference. The prestigious international conference is organized with an intention to provide an excellent international platform for the academicians, researchers, engineers, industrial participants and students with a futuristic vision to share their research findings with the specialists.

Participants have been invited for oral and poster presentation in the major area of agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Biological resources utilization & conservation, Environmental management and many more. By tackling the issues at sustainable agriculture like pest and disease management, quality food production and environmental sustainability the forum will witness emerging industry trends in Agri-technology. International experts will navigate into the procedure to improve economical yielding approaches, novel techniques to refine & calibrate traditional pesticides in disease control and other refined revolutionary trends.

The forum will be an exclusive enriching experience for a series of technical discussion on the proposed topics.

Precision agriculture and smart farming technology
Animal science, advances in Livestock production and management
Agronomy and industrial Crop production
Aquaculture and Fish production
Quality food production, food safety and food security
IPM, Biopesticides and Organic agriculture
Medicinal plants, photochemistry and drug discovery
Water management technology in agriculture and forestry
Agribusiness and Agri economics
Biotechnology in sustainable agriculture
Impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry women in agriculture
Bioresources conservation for environmental sustainability
Impact of climate change and global warming on the ecosystem
Forest products and rural livelihood
Forest management, forestry education and information system
Ecotourism and nature conservation
Recent advances in agroforestry
Post harvesting technology and marketing
Horticulture, landscaping and urban agriculture
Mitigation of air water and soil pollution
Environmental toxicity and health safety
Alternative energy and waste resource management
Green chemistry and recycling
Trends in wildlife management
Agriculture, sericulture and dairy farming in rural developments
Advances in hydroponics

The conference to host innovative trends and

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and MSME Nitin Gadkari stressed on encouraging the use of bio fuels such as ethanol that can be procured from bamboo oil and used in fuel generation.

Biofuel is the future of next gen agriculture: Nitin Gadkari

 

 

Inaugurating the 11th Edition of Agrovision , Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and MSME Nitin Gadkari  stressed on  encouraging the use of bio fuels such as ethanol that can be procured from bamboo oil and used in fuel generation. He further highlighted the fact that ethanol using two wheelers are going to be the future which creates huge opportunity and need for high production of these fuels.

 

Need of better cold storage

Nitin Gadkari, also pointed the need of better cold storage facilities in the country.” By using the new cold storage technology, we can export our farm produce all over the world if we use cold storage facility in better way”, he said.

 

One stop Honey Processing unit

Gadkari also added that industry of honey production should be encouraged in Gadchiroli and Bhandara districts. “Central Food Technological Research Institute has recently developed honey cubes which will certainly help bee -keeping business for future honey production. We will start one stop honey processing centre in Gadchiroli that will provide employment to local farmers.”

 

Training institute farmers

Gadkari said that there is a need for permanent training institute for farmers. He also said that the Centre will offer technical know-how and training to the farmers of the region. Various workshops and seminars, training sessions, will be conducted in the training centre so that Vidarbha could be made free from farmers’ suicides.

Gadkari said that based on the feedback from farmers, he is planning to establish the training institute.  The training institute will be a boon for farmers as they will have access to highly qualified faculty members, lab, R&D facility, experts, officials, latest technology, Government schemes, project and other agriculture related information. The Agrovision Foundation will form a special committee to plan and work out the details of the Farmers Training Institute.

Former Agriculture minister Anil Bonde stressed on the use of sustainable energy for agriculture production cost. “Use of solar pumps is one of the examples of usage of sustainable energy. Agri-industry should explore and manufacture the solar based pumps for the better future of agriculture industry.”

Former member of Maharashtra legislative council, Pasha Patel said that oranges can effectively be used as a raw material for wine production using fermentation which also can be carried out in small scale level.

 

Union Minister for Road Transport and

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.

 

 

 

Pashya Patel, chairman of Maharashtra Commission of

Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways; MSME, Government of India launched AgroSpectrum, a new venture by MM Activ Sci Tech Communications Pvt Ltd, at the 11th Agro Vision Summit on 22nd November 2019 at Reshimbag Ground of Nagpur, Maharashtra.

MM Activ, who has been successfully running BioSpectrum India, BioSpectrum Asia and NuFFooDS Spectrum for the past few years, has introduced another B2B media platform AgroSpectrum catering to the agriculture and allied business community.

 “AgroSpectrum is committed to offer to the readers the latest news, unbiased reporting, balanced coverage of the agri sector, analysis of developments in the sector, valuable & reliable information, emerging trends – all that will create meaningful content for effective business decision-making”, said Ravindra Boratkar, Publisher, AgroSpectrum; MD, MM Activ Sci Tech Communications Pvt. Ltd. 

 Its integrated B2B digital media platform agrospectrumindia.com has already been uniquely positioned as a specialized online portal for the Agriculture Industry and has been receiving excellent page views and hits. A veteran in the field of agriculture, Prof (Dr) C D Mayee, former Chairman of Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board, New Delhi, is the advisor for the digital platform.

Theme for Inaugural Issue

The theme of the special print issue is ‘Doubling Farmers’ income; Agri-business indicators for success’. All the articles will be woven around this theme.

www.agrospectrumindia.com/e-magazine-request 

Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport &