Know your budget: Agriculture sector

New Delhi, Feb1: One of the key take away for the agriculture sector from the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is that from now on the Minimum support price (MSP) of all unannounced crops of kharif will be at least at one and half times of their production cost.

Other announcements made for the agriculture sector include putting in place a fool-proof mechanism so that farmers will get adequate price for their produce. This will be implemented by Niti Ayog in consultation with Central and State Governments.

Government will create an institutional mechanism, with participation of all concerned Ministries, to develop appropriate policies and practices for price and demand forecast, use of futures and options market, expansion of warehouse depository system and to take decisions about specific.

To develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs). In these GrAMs, physical infrastructure will be strengthened using MGNREGA and other Government Schemes. These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers.

An Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs 2000 crore will be set up for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585 APMCs.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare will reorient its ongoing Schemes and promote cluster based development of agri-commodities and regions in partnership with the Ministries of Food Processing, Commerce and other allied Ministries.

Government to support organised cultivation and associated industry. Proposes to allocate a sum of  Rs 200 crore for this purpose.

Allocation of Ministry of Food Processing is being doubled from Rs 715 crore in   2017-18 to RS 1400 crore in 2018-19. Government will promote establishment of specialized agro-processing financial institutions in this sector.

Government proposes to launch an ‘‘Operation Greens’’ on the lines of ‘‘Operation Flood’’. ‘‘Operation Greens’’ shall promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. I propose to allocate a sum of `500 crore for this purpose.

Propose to set up state-of-the-art testing facilities in all the forty two Mega Food Parks.

Propose to launch a Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of `1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.

To set up a Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector. Total Corpus of these two new Funds would be Rs. 10,000 crore.

Institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year from Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017-18 to Rs 11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19.