January 17, 2014

 

India may achieve record wheat output on good monsoon

 

 

At an event held in New Delhi, India, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Tariq Anwar said that the country is likely to achieve record wheat production on back of good monsoon.

 

"We have been receiving encouraging reports as the weather has been very good and the monsoon has supported us and I think this time we would achieve an-all time high production that would beat all previous records," said Anwar while inaugurating '6th Agri Business Summit: Infrastructure, Value Chain and Partnership' organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

 

On reports of stem rust in a wheat field in Haryana, the minister informed that government has already warned the farmers and it is taking an initiative in this behalf.

 

"There are governance issues related to licensing of wholesalers, issues related to holding capacity of farmers, issues related to market price information and a number of such issues related to the whole supply chain which creates this kind of pricing contradiction."

 

The minister further said that it is imperative to create a system to properly incentivise everyone in the supply chain to maximise production and efficiency as the challenge of maintaining an efficient food supply chain was not just limited to controlling post-harvest loss. "An efficient supply chain can adversely affect the welfare of producers as well as consumers in a number of ways."

 

"There is a need to develop an incentive system to encourage both producers and distributors or sellers to adopt new technology to maximise production as we have not been able to use even the existing technologies available to us," said Anwar.

 

The minister also said that presently, farmers are discouraged to produce more as most of the surplus generated from farm produce is cornered by middlemen. He also stressed upon the role of contract farming to increase farm productivity and thereby increase agriculture income in the future. "Contract farming has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture quite significantly as it has helped boost the egg and milk production by 166% and 100% during 1993-94 and 2011-12 while food grain production increased by 40% during this period."

 

He also sought serious industry intervention while emphasising on the importance of contract farming. "Most States today would not debar any company from procuring directly from the farmers provided certain procedural issues are followed, said Anwar while conceding that there are certain issues related to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in various states."

 

The minister further informed that the Ministry of Agriculture is engaged in organising Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) across the country through Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC) which has taken up an initiative to incubate 250 FPOs covering 2.5 lakh (1 lakh=100,000) farmers. "These organisations need a helping hand and procurement support from business and industry and I would urge the industry to take a look at these organisations as that shall be a win-win situation for both you and the farmers of the FPOs."

 

The story of the Indian agriculture has been one of tremendous growth, both on the supply as well as the demand fronts, said the ASSOCHAM president, Rana Kapoor.

 

"A host of challenges and opportunities exist in the augmentation, creation and improvement of the agricultural-infrastructure in India across various stages. These include farm-gate (pre-harvest, harvest), post-harvest (marketing, storage, logistics) and food processing (with a focus on sectors like dairy where a second White Revolution is needed to actualise the full benefits of the first one)," said the ASSOCHAM chief. "A well formulated Government policy, with adequate focus on appropriate technology, People's Party of Punjab (PPP) and other partnership models as well as creation of an enabling environment for inviting private enterprise and capital are some of the ingredients that will drive the agricultural-infrastructure investments in India."

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