Agarwal highlights advantage India in Agri sector


Target set to raise exports

India has a strong advantage in the Agriculture sector which is being strengthened by several enabling schemes such as the Rs.1 crore Agri Infra Fund for post-harvest infrastructure.

This was underlined by Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, who added that food processing in India is less than 10% and the target is to increase it to 25%.

There is an increasing demand for value-added health-fortified and processed food, according to Agarwal.

The global organic market is growing at 12% per annum, he added.

He also informed that a digital agri-stack is being developed for linking farmers to online market places and smart agriculture.

He reiterated that developing a strong Agri ecosystem by providing access to better marketing avenues for farmers’ produce and freeing up the sector from restrictive laws is a key focus area for the government, for which three new ordinances have been announced recently.

Agarwal was among the keynote speakers at webinars organized by the Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, Government. The webinars, held 25 and 26 June 2020 were on “Landmark Reforms in Indian Agriculture – Investment Opportunities Arising in Agri Enterprises” and “Ushering A New Dawn in Agri Reforms – Strategic Policy Shifts: The Policy Makers’ View”.

The government has taken several measures to boost the animal husbandry sector, added Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.

Several incentives have been announced like Dairy Infra Development Fund in 2018 and Animal Husbandry Infra Development Fund this month (June 2020), he informed.

Describing fisheries as a sunrise sector, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Fisheries, the target has been set to raise fisheries exports to Rs.1 lakh crore by 2024-25 and Rs.2 lakh crore by 2028.

Among other targets is to have the sector raise fish production from 137.58 lakh tons in 2018-19 to 220 lakh tons in 2024-25 and average aquaculture productivity to be raised from 3.3 tons/ha to 5.0 tons/ha in 2024-25.

Dr Ranjan also elaborated on the recent policy reforms and government initiatives in the fisheries sector like Fisheries Infrastructure Development Fund.

The Secretary outlined the investment opportunities in fish farming like brackish water aquaculture, cage farming, seaweed farming, ornamental fisheries; and in support services like brood banks, hatcheries, feed manufacturing, value chain and processing, etc.

He pointed out that from 2014-15 to 2018-19, the fisheries sector has grown by 10.87%, fish production by 7.53%, fisheries exports have grown by 9.71% and India’s global share of fish production has grown to 7.73%.

India is now the 2nd largest aquaculture producer in the world and 4th largest seafood exporter.

Overall, the Agri sector contributes about 15% of the GDP and livelihood for more than 50% of the population.

The country is the fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals and has the largest livestock population of around 31% of the world’s total.


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