Need more allocation for research and development in agri sector, say experts

Anvita Srivastava
Wednesday, 29 January 2020

For a futuristic and better growth in agriculture, it is important to invest in research and development to strengthen agriculture. — Rajaram Deshmukh

PUNE: In today’s time when the earth is facing the effects of climate change resulting in floods, drought, unseasonal rainfall, experts from the agricultural sector hope for a better allocation for research and development for sustainable agriculture in the Budget.

However, the growers also expect some relief in Goods and Services Tax (GST) by bringing down on products such as fertilisers, equipment, etc, in the minimum limit and better allocation for agricultural infrastructure such as storage and transport.

“The overall growth of the agricultural sector is reducing and no one is bothered regarding it which is a cause of concern. The research and development in the agricultural sector is one of the most neglected areas,” said Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth Akola Former Vice-Chancellor Venkat Mayande.

“However, it is important to understand that today, when we are witnessing the effects of climate change and its pressure on agriculture, it is important to invest in research for a sustainable agriculture system during the time of climate change,” added Venkat Mayande. 

“There should be a better allocation in the budget for creating infrastructure for the secondary sector such as processing industry and also water conservation and management,” he further said. 

“The world is facing the effects of climate change and its effects can be seen on agriculture as well. For a futuristic and better growth in agriculture, it is important to invest in research and development to strengthen agriculture. However, agricultural research is a neglected area and the budget for Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is also reducing every year and therefore, it is important for better budget allocation for the same,” said Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Rahuri Former Vice-Chancellor Rajaram Deshmukh. 

“It is also important for a better budget allocation of irrigation facilities in rainfed areas and better allocation for agriculture insurance scheme is also required as farmers are facing the severe impact of climate change,” added Deshmukh. 

“There should be some relief on GST on agricultural machinery and products such as fertilisers, etc. To reduce the cost of production for farmers, the government should bring all products in the lowest limit such as five per cent GST, while at present, there is some machinery on which 12 per cent GST is charged,” said Vegetable Growers Association of India President Shriram Gadhave. 

All India Grapes Growers Association President Sopan Kanchan also echoed the same and said, “Ideally, there should be no GST on any agricultural products or machinery but even if there is, it should not be more than 5 per cent.”

Gadhave further said, “In last year’s budget, there was an announcement of forming Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) to help farmers which was also not implemented properly as only around only 15 to 20 per cent of FPOs are actually functional.” 

In the Union Budget 2019, a plan of forming 10,000 new FPOs to ensure economies of scale for farmers in the next five years was mentioned. 

The experts and growers also expressed the need for marketing infrastructure so that the farmers can get a better price for their produce. 

Deshmukh said, “There is a need for proper allocation for developing marketing infrastructure so that farmers get a good price for their produce. However, E-nam also has shortcomings and it is not benefiting the farmers.”

During Budget 2019, it was mentioned that the government will work with the State governments on e-nam so that farmers get the benefits. 

Gadhave said, “E-nam is a good thing but there are hardly any farmers associated with it and the implementation is poor. It should be developed and promoted in a better way. The government should take important measures for the development of marketing infrastructure for the farmers and also allocating budget for the development of infrastructure such as storage and transport system which can help.”

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