How does the agri input industry see the Union Budget 2023-24?

How does the agri input industry see the Union Budget 2023-24?

The government has accorded priority to the input side agricultural economy. This has got a reflection on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budgetary speech. While presenting the Union Budget 2023-24, the minister announced several farmer-centric measures including the setting up of an agriculture accelerator fund for encouraging agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas. The focus on digitalisation would also have a positive impact on farmer-centric services like farm inputs.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance
Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance

Talking about the need to develop digital infrastructure to aid the agriculture sector in the country, Sitharaman said that the move towards digitisation of agriculture is expected to enable inclusive farmer-centric services like farm inputs, crop estimation, market intelligence, crop planning, and support for agri-based industries and startups.

Experts observed that compared to the last year’s budget, the Union Budget 2023-24 is a step forward in leveraging technology for an improved agricultural economy in India.

Balram Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet
Balram Yadav, MD, Godrej Agrovet

“Educating farmers on the new-age technology and realigning crop planning based on climatic conditions is a necessity and it is herein that digital open infrastructure will play a critical role – improving access to farm inputs as well as intelligence,” said Balram Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet.

“With our country’s startups playing a critical role in building innovative and affordable solutions for farmers, enhanced collaboration within the ecosystem will go a long way in enhancing farmers’ productivity and profitability,” added Yadav.

To enable farmers to get a better price for their produce, the sector was expecting that the government would announce a tech-focused-inclusive budget which focuses on supply and input sides.

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Ravi Annavarapu, President, FMC India
Ravi Annavarapu, President, FMC India

Ravi Annavarapu, President, FMC India said, “It’s largely a positive budget for agriculture. This budget will promote R&D and innovations. We see the budgetary provisions supportive of precision agriculture and making farming more sustainable. The government’s focus on natural farming will be served better if it can lay out clear guidelines for introducing global biological or microbial technologies for the farmers to manage the potential crop loss due to pests and promoting Integrated Pest Management. Agriculture loses more than INR 2 lakh crores worth of crops to biotic pressures.”

The experts feel that the government will do well to align the regulatory system to expedite the introduction of newer technologies in agriculture.

Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director, Crystal Crop Protection
Ankur Aggarwal, MD, Crystal Crop Protection

“The Union Budget will encourage farmers to opt for modern technology and digital intervention, which will ensure better productivity and profitability. Special focus on the quality of horticultural produce under Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program and availability of ease in credit is encouraging for the agri input sector, said, Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director, Crystal Crop Protection.

The government has given a boost to the agriculture sector in the Union Budget 2023-24. The finance minister set the agricultural credit target of INR 20 lakh crores in the financial year in order to make easy access to credit facilities for the sector.

Maninder Singh, Founder & CEO, CEF Group
Maninder Singh, Founder & CEO, CEF Group

Maninder Singh, Founder & CEO, CEF Group said, “With farmer-centric solutions, this budget is also providing a large space for private players to grow in the agri-industry. The government has allocated an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore for the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program which will improve the availability of disease-free quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops.”

Natural farming is also among the vision of the government’s budget this year. The government proposed to set up 10,000 bio-input resource centres which will enable access to natural farming to one crore farmers over the period of the next three years in adopting natural farming. For precision farming, 100 labs using 5G services will be set up in the engineering institutions which will focus on developing applications to provide ease and accuracy in farming,” added, Maninder Singh.

You may also like to read – How does the seed industry see the Union Budget 2023-24?

The Union Budget 2023-24 is being touted as the first budget of ‘Amrit Kaal’ and it aims to push inclusive development.

RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group
RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group

RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group said, “The budget has well and truly set the tone for India’s Amrit Kaal and perfectly aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The announcement to launch a comprehensive scheme to increase the domestic production of oilseeds to reduce the country’s dependence on the import of edible oil is a welcome step. India has successfully withstood the global food crisis and the budget focus on increasing technological intervention in agricultural value chains will enable us to overcome any future global uncertainties.”

Sanjiv Kanwar, Managing Director, Yara South Asia
Sanjiv Kanwar, Country Manager, Yara India

According to Sanjiv Kanwar, Country Manager, Yara India, the Union Budget 2023 is strongly focused on promoting innovation, research, digitisation and technology in agriculture, a step in the right direction. “In fact, the government has also announced skilling initiatives for the development of technologies like drones, which will bring in sustainable agricultural practices, optimising input resource efficiency in farming. We strongly believe the focus on integrated nutrient management aligns well with the overall vision of sustainability that has been outlined by the government,” he added.

Raj Yadav, Founder and CEO, Agri Junction
Raj Yadav, Founder and CEO, Agri Junction

The experts and agri industry captains feel that some of the budgetary provisions would be game-changer. Raj Yadav, Founder and CEO, Agri Junction said, “The supply and input side of the agricultural value chain is heavily emphasised in the budget. From the perspectives of crop diversity, sustainability, and nutrition, the increasing emphasis on promoting millet cultivation, consumption, and exports, more investment in fisheries, and the promotion of natural farming are all beneficial moves for the Indian agriculture segment. Farmers will receive higher prices for their produce with a focus on properly managing cooperatives and producer collectives. Additionally, the government’s decision to focus on foodgrains for all priority households under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and spending INR 2 lakh crores is highly commendable. The National Rural Livelihood Mission has achieved remarkable success by mobilising rural women into 1 lakh self-help groups (SHGs) and per capita income has increased to Rs 1.97 lakh.”

You may also like to read – Budget 2023: Accelerating agritech to create a robust ecosystem
Prabhat Chaturvedi, CEO, Netafim Agricultural Financing Agency
Prabhat Chaturvedi, CEO, Netafim Agricultural Financing Agency

The formation of National Financial Information Registry to serve as a central repository of financial and ancillary information is an excellent decision. It is a smart step and will aid in solving the problem of lending, foster financial stability and encourage financial inclusion in the country through aggregated data. It will support smaller NBFCs to bring cost-effective credit underwritings, particularly focused on MSMEs.

“Union budget announcement is a testimony to policymaker’s intent of touching every aspect of the economy. It will also help to conclude end-to-end digital processing efficiently with standard checks and balances within a prompt turnaround time. The announced measure will have a butterfly effect on the credit sector as well as will provide a cushion to create an engine of growth,” concluded, Prabhat Chaturvedi, CEO, Netafim Agricultural Financing Agency.

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