Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a slew of announcements for India’s agricultural sector while presenting the Union Budget for the financial year (FY) 2022-23. The Centre will promote Kisan Drones, chemical-free natural farming, public-private partnerships for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across the country during the financial year 2022-23,
The government will also facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through Nabard to finance agri start-ups and rural enterprises, she said. The fund will be used to finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprises, relevant to the farm produce value chain.
“This is to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise relevant for farm produce value chain,” the finance minister said.
The activities of these start-ups will include inter-area support for farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), machineries for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level and technology including invitee base, she added.
Here are the post-budget reactions from agritech industry
Mr. Siraj Chaudhry, MD & CEO, NCML
The budget has made a sincere attempt to promote the use of technology in Agriculture and make it future-ready. The last mile digital connectivity has the potential to drastically alter the Agri landscape of the country and by announcing the completion date of the Bharat Net project by 2025, the budget has attempted to bridge the digital divide between the villages and urban areas by 2025. Steps like the provision of funds through NABARD for Agri start-ups and rural enterprises will help in infusing capital in the budding ecosystem of value chain start-ups along with ensuring delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers and stakeholders of Agri value chains. With the availability of cheaper funds, these value chain start-ups will be able to widen their reach and help in providing much-needed technical support to farmers. Emphasis on the use of Kisan drones for crop assessments, digitization of land records are welcome steps and would help companies involved in the gathering of crop and weather data.
The announcement of a domestic scheme to reduce dependence on oilseed imports seems to be in line with the previously announced National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm with a financial outlay of Rs.11,040 crores for reducing the edible oil imports. There is a real need to align the academic research in Agriculture with the market and the proposed reforms in the syllabi of Agricultural universities to align it with the needs of modern-day agriculture has been a long-standing demand of the Agriculture sector which finally seems to be fulfilled.
The budget proposes to phase out a large number of exemptions applicable on some Agri products, chemicals, drugs. Though the fine print is still awaited this decision might have an inflationary effect on Agri nutrients, agrochemicals and pesticides which could further stoke food inflation.