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Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Family Welfare, has launched a Project Management Unit (PMU) on Public Private Partnership (PPP) in agriculture, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). During the announcement, Tomar said that PPP model can be ideal for growth in the agriculture sector and the projects must focus on benefitting the farmers through enhancement of their income.

The primary objective of this PPP initiative is to enhance the income of small farmers by creating additional value, from provisioning of quality inputs, technology extension to market linkages, and value addition. PPP initiatives are also expected to lead to modernising agriculture practices, building climate resilience among farmers, developing agriculture and rural infrastructure, and increasing agricultural exports. A particular objective is to assist the states to unlock the full potential of their respective agro-climatic regions, and wide variety of agri produce and help producers to integrate better with domestic and export markets.

Commenting on the development, Manoj Ahuja, secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare stated that the government should play a catalytic role in facilitating investments in the agriculture sector. The private sector and NGOs should come together and partner with the government on such projects which will have a multiplier effect, he added. The announcement was made in the presence of Shubrakant Panda, senior vice president, FICCI who expressed confidence in the PMU initiative accelerating large scale PPP projects in agriculture by leveraging the private sector investments and bringing convergence of government schemes and subsidies. Abhilaksh Likhi, additional secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and other senior ministry officers a were present on the occasion.

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and

Addressing the seventh International Exhibition and Conference EIMA Agrimach India 2022 in Bengaluru, Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said that with India becoming a food surplus country, the Indian farmer needs affordable machinery and technologies to expand production and come up with value-added products with export potential,

The three-day conference cum exhibition was inaugurated by Karandlaje, Murugesh R Nirani, minister of large and medium industries, and Muniratna Naidu, minister for horticulture and planning & statistics, Government of Karnataka.

Speaking on the occasion, Karandlije noted that the country’s robust cereals, fruits and vegetable production are at 314 and 334 million metric ton respectively. However, she said, “What the country needs now is affordable and quality food processing, agri-marketing and agri-export avenues.”

Karandlaje encouraged equipment manufacturers and technology developers to manufacture food processing machinery to check the rampant wastage of agriculture and horticulture produce in the absence of value addition. She said that instead of wasting, the food could be exported to nations with limited food production avenues.

During the event, Nirani highlighted that increased efforts were needed for technology improvement, adoption, and exports. In addition, the minister encouraged foreign industry participants to introduce affordable mechanised farming, given the small land holdings in the state. 

The other dignitaries who spoke during the conference included K Ullas Kamath, chairman, FICCI Karnataka State Council; TR Kesavan, chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee; Alessandro Malavolti, president, FederUnacoma; Shivayogi C Kalasad, secretary to government, agriculture department, Government of Karnataka; Dr S Rajendra Prasad, vice-chancellor, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, and Ravindra Agrawal, chairman, Agriculture Sub-Committee, FICCI Karnataka State Council.

EIMA Agrimach India 2022 has registered participants from more than 40 countries and is expected to witness the presence of over 10000 farmers, industry and foreign delegates, investors, agriculture researchers, and students.

Addressing the seventh International Exhibition and Conference

NN Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development was addressing, the first conference on Fishtech, organised by the industry chamber FICCI.  

It is crucial to have an integrated chain of activities when organising fish farmers, especially those who are poor, said NN Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, at the First Conference on Fishtech, organised by the industry chamber FICCI.  

Delivering the Special address, Sinha alluded to the need to develop an integrated structure akin to the dairy sector. “There is a lot of scope for developing such a value chain”, he said. The secretary also referred to growing seaweed, ornamental fishing, and cage culture as viable livelihood activities. “We think aquaculture is an important livelihood option for a large number of people”, he said, adding, “we will work with everyone in the sector”.

A FICCI PwC report, “Championing the blue economy: Promoting sustainable growth of fisheries sector in India”, was released on occasion. The report showcases the potential of India’s fisheries sector, trends, opportunities, challenges, and strategic interventions needed to support the blue economy in India and build a sustainable and profitable future for the industry.

Speaking on occasion, Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI- Taskforce on Agri-Startups, said, “we need a dedicated fund for fishery start-ups, which can put in early-stage funding for start-ups trying to build interesting models and features”.

 Further, Mathur said, “We should at least have 500 fishtech start-ups in the country, given the sector’s potential. All start-ups put together account for less than 2-3 per cent of the market potential”. He said that fishery is an important sector with more than 1.5 crore fishermen engaged in the activity and its contribution to GDP being more than USD30 billion.

 Noting the considerable headroom for growth, Mathur alluded to the need to develop an innovation ecosystem in fishtech on the lines of agriculture and said, over the last five to seven years; we saw 1500-plus agri-tech startups in the country due to ecosystem development.

Shashi Kant Singh, Executive Director, Agri & Natural Resources, PWC, also noted the potential of increasing the use of technology and, further, the headroom available to increase the production, exports and domestic consumption in the fishery sector. He added that a lot of “policy support”, “ecosystem support”, and “well-designed schemes” were introduced by the government during the last four to five years.

 Devleena Bhattacharjee, Chair, FICCI Committee on Fishtech and Founder & CEO, Numer8 Analytics, said, “India is the second largest fish producing country in the world and contributes to about 7.56% of the global fish production. She noted that the fishery sector is a sunrise sector owing to tremendous scope in domestic consumption and expansion, strong export potential and greater economic returns with strong policy support.

NN Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare was addressing the ‘11th Agrochemicals Conference 2022, organized by FICCI.

 Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India said that the private sector should come forward and support the government in reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides in the agriculture sector. Addressing the ‘11th Agrochemicals Conference 2022 -Policy Landscape for a Flourishing Agrochemicals Industry’, organized by FICCI, with the support of Department of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India.

Tomar also stated that the government is promoting the use of newer technology to be adopted by the farmers to produce expensive crops. “Work is also being done to ensure uniformity in production of crops along with ensuring quality in the production”, he added.

Bhagwanth Khuba, Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers and New & Renewable Energy, Govt of India urged the industry to focus on organic pesticides as this will take time to adopt to mitigate the side effects of pesticides currently used. “We must also promote manufacturing these organic pesticides in India as well”, he added.

Mr RG Agarwal, Chairman, FICCI Crop Protection Committee & Chairman, Dhanuka Group said, “We urge the government to reduce GST rates on pesticides and bring it at 5 per cent like fertilizers so as to benefit small and marginal farmers as well. The government should also provide PLI to pesticides industry to develop the domestic industry as an international manufacturing hub.”

FICCI-PwC Knowledge paper ‘Policy Landscape for a Flourishing Agrochemicals Industry’, was released during the event.

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture &

FICCI has said that GST Council should consider the agrochemical industry request favourably seeking reduction of the tax rate on agrochemical inputs for the farm sector from current 18 per cent to 5 per cent at the maximum

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in a press conference held on June 22, 2022, has said that GST Council should consider the agrochemical industry request favourably seeking reduction of the tax rate on agrochemical inputs for the farm sector from current 18 per cent to 5 per cent at the maximum.

The 47th meeting of the GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will be held in Chandigarh on June 28 and 29.

Addressing the Press Conference on ‘Policy Landscape for a Flourishing Agrochemicals Industry’, organised by FICCI, R G Agarwal, Chair, FICCI Committee on Crop Protection and Chairman, Dhanuka Group said that high Goods and Service Tax (GST) on crop protection chemicals especially hurts small and marginal farmers by increasing their input cost and prompting them to use these essential ingredients in sub-optimal quantities to the detriment of farm output and their own financial health.

“A GST of 18 per cent on agrochemical is highly unjustified since they act as insurance to not only crop health but also increase their quality, yield and income of farmers. This high rate of 18 per cent is not justified and it should be brought down to a maximum of 5 per cent at par with fertilisers.”

Dr CD Mayee, a Former Agriculture Commissioner opined that Agrochemical industry acts as a backbone to our farmers and assures them of high yield with better quality produce while mitigating crop losses. In view of the climate changes and emerging threats of pest and disease there is urgent need to overhaul the regulatory system for introduction of new and innovative chemistries and technologies. There is also an urgent need to improve the enforcement mechanism, at several levels, to ensure the supply of high-quality agrochemicals to farmers on a sustainable basis.   

“This can be achieved with the cooperation of the private sector in addition to hiring adequate manpower and strengthening government laboratories, providing the latest analytical instruments, reference standards and making ISO17025 NABL certification mandatory as done under FSSAI Act as well as support from Quality Council of India or other independent organisations,” said Dr Mayee.

FICCI is organising its 11th Agrochemicals conference 2022 on the theme ‘Policy landscape for a flourishing Agrochemicals Industry’ on June 23 in New Delhi.

FICCI has said that GST Council should

Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare  addressing at International Summit ‘Artificial Intelligence & Digital Applications in Agriculture’, organized by FICCI

Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India said that as the technology advances in India, we will soon have sensor-based use of drone application for which we all stakeholders have to jointly collaborate. “The eco-system is now in place, and it is up to the industry and Start-ups to leverage this eco-system,” she added.

Biswas said, “Once the sensor-based applications of drones start then we might not require huge data generation. Currently, we don’t have sensor based targeted approach of application of pesticides on nutrients through drones.”

Biswas further stated that in terms of mechanization, India is 40 percent mechanized country, but we now need some parameters by which we can also assess our technological progress as well including use of drones, AI, IoT, etc.

She also urged various universities and institutes working on judicious use of pesticides through drones to share the data and research findings with all stakeholders. We are saving up to 30 percent of the pesticides and it will come down further when we adopt targeted approach as part of the sustainable agriculture, she added.

Highlighting the importance of Start-ups, Biswas stated that the Start-ups should work on solutions at lower cost for the farmers along with providing good after sales service. “I urge the Start-ups to come forward and provide these services. The government agencies should also involve Start-ups to find solutions for certain services,” she noted.

Dr V Praveen Rao, Vice Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU) said, “Due to labour scarcity, we are now seeding rice directly through drones. We are introducing high intensity planting of cotton in the state, and we want to use drones for this as well”.

Dr SK Malhotra, Former Agriculture Commissioner, Chairman, CIB&RC and Prjoject Director, DKMA said that we are now focusing on smart farming.

T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE Ltd said that drone is going to change the way the Indian agriculture will work and technology in agriculture will make it easy for everyone to access.

Dr JP Singh, Additional Plant Protection Adviser & Secretary, CIB&RC and Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Agri Start-ups & Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund also shared their perspective.

Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture

FICCI-YES Bank report ‘Indian Maize Sector – Securing Supply Sustainably’ was released during the 8th edition of ‘India Maize Summit.

Addressing the 8th edition of ‘India Maize Summit 2022’, organized by FICCI, Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, released FICCI-YES Bank report ‘Indian Maize Sector – Securing Supply Sustainably’.

Key highlights of the report:

India’s maize consumption is projected to increase to 33.8 Mn MT in 2030 with major contribution of industrial usage. To meet the ever-increasing domestic demand of maize while addressing the environmental concerns, interventions need to be done at various levels of the value chain with cumulative efforts made by all the stakeholders involved. Five key action areas which have been identified post discussion with industry to ensure sustainable supply of maize for all end users are

1. Enhancing maize production ecosystem

2. Making post-harvest interventions more robust

3. Transformation of storage and logistics infrastructure

4. Facilitation of domestic supply and international trade of maize

5.  Upgradation of processing infrastructure

These actions steps if implemented in a co-creation mode with strong inter institutional partnership as well as public-private partnership will ensure sustainable supply of maize to meet the future demand.

 Tomar also assured the industry of government’s support to boost the maize sector. “Agriculture is the backbone of India and it has helped the country during every crisis including COVID-19. During this time, the increase in export of agriculture products is also very encouraging,” he added.

FICCI-YES Bank report ‘Indian Maize Sector –

Need for increased investment in agriculture sector and integrating high end technologies to improve the sector

Addressing the 8th edition of ‘India Maize Summit 2022’, organized by FICCI, Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India assured the industry of government’s support to boost the maize sector . Tomar said that the popularity of maize is not only growing globally but also in India with its diversified use in many sectors including poultry and ethanol production. The government, under crop diversification is promoting farmers to increase maize production through various initiatives. “The MSP of maize has been increased by 43 percent in last 8 years and with the increase in production the farmers are also getting benefited from this,” he added.

 T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE said that maize holds immense potential for food and nutritional security. It provides the right avenue for crop diversification and also for increasing farmer income, especially for small and marginal farmers in the rainfed areas, he added.

Earlier during the inaugural session, Amrendra Pratap Singh, Minister of Agriculture, Govt of Bihar said that maize is one of the most important food crops in the world and provides food security to majority of developing nations. In India, Maize is developing as the third most important crop after wheat and rice. Bihar contributes to over 9 percent of total maize production in India and is the fifth largest producer of maize after Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, he added.

Need for increased investment in agriculture sector

Experts emphaise on how innovations played a key role in green and white revolution

Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General, ICAR, Government of India emphasised that nurturing agri innovations is imperative for agricultural development. Innovations played a key role in green and white revolution.

Addressing the 4th edition of ‘FICCI Agri Startup Summit & Awards’, Dr Mohapatra said, “The evolving technologies and agri innovations are to be mainstreamed and deployed in the fields.” Dr Mohaptra mentioned that there has to be efficiency, climate resilience and high productivity with quality and we need more and more players to be part of it.

Neelkamal Darbari, MD, Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), Government of India said that the timing is apt to leverage technologies for the small and marginal farmers. The government has already launched the e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) which is a pan-India electronic trading portal that networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE Ltd said that FICCI Awards for agriculture start-up has emerged as a leading platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their potential.

Vivek Chandra, CEO, Global Branded Business, LT Foods, said that agri start-ups will play a crucial role in bringing in the required technology and innovation needed to meet the increasing demand for food as the world population grows.

Ashok Varma, Partner, PwC said that at present, there are more than 700 AgriTech start-ups in India that are developing customised solutions and products to make the agricultural value chain more profitable and remunerative. With an impressive inflow of funding, more than 48 per cent of AgriTech CEOs in the country believe that they will have the next AgriTech unicorn within a three-year time frame.

Amit Mundawala, MD and Co-founder, Star Agribazaar Technology highlighted that Agritech companies can play important role in enhancing farmers’ income. This can be achieved if we have a proper database of all the parameters needed in remote sensing resulting in accurate farmer advisory services which will, in turn, increase the yield, reduce the input cost, and make the proposition win-win for all stakeholders.

Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Agri Start-ups & Technology & Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund said that Indian AgriTech is entering its third phase, which will be driven by increasing farmer adoption of new-age innovations and a significant degree of consolidation in the start-up space.

The 4th edition of FICCI Agri Start-up Awards was announced during the event along with the release of FICCI-PwC Knowledge report “Agri start-ups – Fostering collaboration to bring paradigm shifts in Indian agriculture’ and publication on Agri Start-ups by FICCI Task Force members. PwC was the knowledge partner for this event.

Experts emphaise on how innovations played a