Interim Budget 2024-25: Are strategies for agricultural advancement realistic?

Interim Budget 2024-25: Are strategies for agricultural advancement realistic? What do experts say?

New Delhi: The interim Budget for 2024-25 has received widespread appreciation from the key leaders and experts in the agriculture sector. While they commend the government’s commitment to farmers, technology adoption, and sustainable practices, some expectations and suggestions for additional industry-centric measures have been voiced. The collective sentiment is one of optimism, with a shared belief that the budget lays the foundation for a more resilient and prosperous future for the agriculture sector. According to them, continued collaboration between the government, industry, and other stakeholders will be crucial in addressing future challenges and ensuring sustained growth.

Rajesh Aggarwal, MD, Insecticides (India)
Rajesh Aggarwal, MD, Insecticides (India)

Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India) Limited commends the government’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of farmers, emphasising their critical role as sustenance providers for the nation. He applauds the continuity of flagship schemes such as PM Kisan Samman Yojana and PM Fasal Bima Yojana, recognising them as pivotal to safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods. Aggarwal particularly appreciates the government’s focus on technology adoption and innovation in agriculture, including the integration of mandis into the Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM). In his view, these measures contribute to a positive trajectory for the agriculture sector, fostering inclusivity, innovation, and sustainability.

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Raju Kapoor, Director - Industry & Public Affairs, FMC India
Raju Kapoor, Director – Industry & Public Affairs, FMC India

Raju Kapoor, Director – Industry & Public Affairs, FMC India tries to strike a balance between fiscal prudence and growth in his assessment of the budget. He highlights the substantial allocation of a Rupees 100,000 crore corpus for a 50-year interest-free loan to the private sector as a catalyst for research and innovation. Kapoor praises the focus on empowering women self-help groups and the efforts to minimise post-harvest losses. However, he expresses some industry expectations, such as the introduction of a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) for ‘new-age’ agrochemicals and a rationalised GST on agrochemicals to 12 per cent. Kapoor remains optimistic about the positive impacts of the interim budget, anticipating collaborative efforts to address more concerns in the future.

MK Dhanuka, MD, Dhanuka Agritech
MK Dhanuka, MD, Dhanuka Agritech

MK Dhanuka, Managing Director, Dhanuka Agritech also commends the Interim Budget 2024-25 for adhering to fiscal consolidation while presenting a far-sighted vision for the agricultural sector. He appreciates the emphasis on private and public investment in post-harvest activities, including aggregation, modern storage, efficient supply chains, and marketing and branding. According to Dhanuka, these steps will reduce wastage and enhance farmers’ income. He also lauds the focus on research and technological advancement in agriculture, citing the promotion of the Nano DAP application as aligned with the government’s vision for rural sector advancement.

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Sanjiv Kumar, MD, Yara South Asia
Sanjiv Kanwar, MD, Yara South Asia

While welcoming the budget’s focus on empowering the poor, youth, women, and farmers Sanjiv Kanwar, MD, Yara South Asia sees the increase in MSP and provision of basic goods as positive steps to raise rural real income. Kanwar appreciates the commitment to modernising storage, supply chains, and branding in the farm sector, foreseeing benefits for both farmers and consumers. As a company committed to sustainable agricultural practices, Yara South Asia believes continued investment in the sector is crucial for long-term growth and prosperity.

Anuj Kumbhat, Co- Founder & CEO, WRMS
Anuj Kumbhat, Co-Founder & CEO, WRMS

Anuj Kumbhat, Co-Founder & CEO, WRMS expresses positivity towards the budget, highlighting the direct financial assistance to farmers and crop insurance under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi and PM Fasal Bima Yojana. He commends the success of initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana and PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Yojana (PMFME), emphasising their positive impact on farmers and the rural economy. The budget’s focus on reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing productivity aligns with the broader goal of strengthening the agriculture sector for sustained growth.

Anshul Garg, CEO & Director, Aroma Agrotech
Anshul Garg, CEO & Director, Aroma Agrotech

Anshul Garg, CEO and Director of Aroma Agrotech finds inspiration in the government’s commitment to farmers. He emphasises the importance of PM-Kisan Samman Yojana and PM Fasal Bima Yojana in supporting income, risk coverage, and technological development in agriculture. Garg expresses enthusiasm about aligning with the budget’s farmer-centric policies, supporting income, and encouraging technological advancements through Agritech.

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Sanjay Borkar, CEO & Co-Founder, FarmERP
Sanjay Borkar, CEO & Co-Founder, FarmERP

Sanjay Borkar, CEO & Co-Founder, FarmERP views the Interim Budget 2024-25 as transformative for the Agritech sector, with a substantial allocation for private sector research and innovation. He appreciates the recognition of technology and innovation’s potential for inclusive growth. The strategic investment in post-harvest activities is seen as a holistic approach to enhance the agriculture sector’s resilience and sustainability, particularly through startups and technology-driven initiatives.

Joby CO, CEO & Co-founder, KiVi
Joby CO, CEO & Co-founder, KiVi

Joby CO, CEO & Co-founder, KiVi sees the budget as positive for Agritech and AgriFintech companies. He notes the financial assistance for small and marginal farmers, the focus on the Electronic National Agricultural Market (e-NAM), and the value addition in the agricultural sector. Joby CO anticipates that public-private investments in post-harvest activities would promote growth, and productivity, and improve farmer incomes.

Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India
Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India

Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India says, “The focus on value addition and income augmentation for farmers, highlighting the success of initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana. The budget’s emphasis on reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing productivity aligns with the sector’s long-term sustainability. Patjoshi also recognises the forward-looking step in promoting climate-resilient activities for the blue economy 2.0.”

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Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder & CEO, FarMart
Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder & CEO, FarMart

Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder and CEO, FarMart views the Interim Budget 2024-25 as a step towards a promising Agritech future. He appreciates the provisions for strengthening agricultural value chains, minimising wastage, and providing crop insurance. Sanghera echoes the government’s vision of bridging the farm-to-fork gap through schemes like PMKSY and PMFME, fostering local and global food security.

Dr. Sat Kumar Tomar, Founder & CEO, Satyukt Analytics
Dr. Sat Kumar Tomar, Founder & CEO, Satyukt Analytics

Dr. Sat Kumar Tomar, Founder & CEO, Satyukt Analytics sees the budget as positively aligned with a technologically driven, sustainable farming approach. While specific mentions of IoT (Internet of Things) devices for precision farming were absent, he acknowledges the focus on farmers’ needs. The commitment to crop insurance, rooftop solarisation, and direct financial assistance reflects a dedication to enhancing the 3Ps of agricultural business: productivity, predictability, and profitability.

Despite collective optimism, the industry wanted more

The industry was expecting more industry-centric announcements in the Interim Budget 2024-25 to further catalyse growth and innovation in the agricultural sector. However, given the priority of the sector, it is widely admitted that the new government, in its full-fledged budget, would come out with more industry-centric provisions.

(With inputs from Mohd Mustaquim)

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