Budget 2022: Kisan drones, services in PPP mode, chemical-free natural farming to open new doors for agriculture
Sitharaman said the Central government will promote Kisan Drones, chemical-free natural farming, public-private partnerships (PPP) for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers.
- Ritwik Bahuguna said that chemical-free farming should be promoted across the country.
- He added that post-harvest value addition for key commodities requires targeted production linked incentives.
- Kunal Kislay said technological intervention in the agricultural sector will open a new door of opportunities for agritech.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday (February 1) announced a major stimulus and slew of other decisions to benefit the agriculture and farming sector of the country during her Budget 2022 presentation speech.
Sitharaman said the Central government will promote Kisan Drones, chemical-free natural farming, public-private partnerships (PPP) for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across every nook and cranny in the country during the financial year 2022-23.
Ritwik Bahuguna, Founder- Roots Foundation and Business Director- Wazir Advisors, said that budget announcements “covered a series of agriculture-related priorities, which can broadly be linked to our Sustainable Development Goals- 2030 of responsible production and consumption.”
“The FM mentioned that chemical-free farming should be promoted across the country. This is an important step. In a country where quantity has taken precedence over quality for all these years, this is a welcome move. Yet adoption may require targeted policy support – such as input subsidies for organic inputs including fertilisers and pesticides. In many parts of the country, several internationally banned pesticides are still used. There is also a need for sharing information by mobilising self-help groups and grass-root organisations in this effort,” he added.
He also pointed out that post-harvest value addition for key commodities requires targeted production linked incentives for large-scale food processing. Under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme the outlay worth Rs 10,900 crore was approved for food processing sector.
“At the outset, the government can consider increasing the outlay. Currently, it is largely distributed between larger companies and SMEs that require funds for scaling up have not received enough support. Moreover, packaging, which is an important aspect of post-harvest value addition and brand building is not adequately covered under the scheme. The packaging industry needs a boost and targeted allocations should be made,” he added.
Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, CEO & Founder, AgNext Technologies, said, "I would like to commend the government for putting forward an enterprising vision of India at 100. The agriculture sector has proven its resilience from external shocks like the COVID pandemic, with growth at 3.9% in FY2021-22, an increase from 3.6% last year. The budget’s focus to increase technological intervention in agriculture value chains will further help to cushion the sector against global uncertainties."
"The government’s dedicated focus to increasing investment in agriculture and the agritech sector will allow for all-inclusive development that will benefit farmers as well as agribusinesses. The proposed PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode scheme to promote the delivery of digital and hi-tech services in the agriculture sector will lead to greater cooperation between the private agritech players and public research institutions," he added.
"Fiscal support from the government will provide the necessary impetus for the growth of the rural economy and the export potential of India’s agri-commodities. For agritech sectors, this is a favorable budget that will pave the way for robust growth of the agritech players, especially the start-ups, to scale domestically and internationally. The emerging agritech startups will enjoy the dual benefits afforded to the sunrise agritech sector and start-up ecosystem in the budget of 2022," Bhamra said.
Amit Sinha, Co-Founder, Unnati “Budget has a strong focus on agriculture with a specific focus on the delivery of high tech services, funding of startups through NABARD, focus on “Drone Shakti” for farmers, climate action. There is a good balance of the short term and long term measures. It’s very forward-looking with a long-reaching impact on how Agriculture will grow in India. These initiatives will solve the core problem of improvement of farm productivity and help improve farm incomes significantly”
Bahuguna also pointed out that there is need to create Brand India for a number of our commodities and for that, there is a need for dedicated programmes on marketing and product development.
“Use of technology for improving the linkages of the agricultural sector is rightly highlighted by the FM. Technology can be a catalyst for both backward and forward linkages and the private sector has a role of play. Support to private sector should be given for deployment of technology in agriculture sector – for instance use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for traceability and market linkages and kisan drones for deliveries should be promoted. Subsidies on equipment purchase may be considered,” he added.
Kunal Kislay, CEO Integration Wizards Solutions, said, “Keeping up with the changing times, an overall focus on the adoption of technology across sectors such as agriculture, education, finance and infrastructure will fast-track India’s transition into a digitally-enabled economy.”
Kislay added that technological intervention in the agricultural sector through delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers in PPP mode, use of Kisan Drones to aid farmers and launching a fund with blended capital to finance agriculture startups is an extremely positive move. This will open a new door of opportunities for agritech and drone as a service startups in upscaling their businesses.