Agri Inc lauds ‘pro-farmer’ Budget; Activists cry ‘betrayal’

New Delhi, Feb 1 Farm industry today lauded the government’s last full budget saying it is a “Roti-Kapada and Kisaan budget” and will help achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income, even as some agriculture activists decried it as a “big betrayal” with the farming community.

Experts also stressed on the need for ensuring effective implementation of various initiatives announced in the budget as that will need support of the state governments.

“The budget announcements are welcoming and focus on strengthening agriculture and rural economy. These would work towards government’s aim to double farmers income by 2020,” cooperative major IFFCO Managing Director U S Awasthi said.

Stating that it was a “path-breaking” budget, he said the government has given the much needed impetus to the agri- sector, which is the backbone of Indian economy.

Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh termed it a ‘Kisaan Budget’, saying it reflected the vision of doubling farmer’s income and will help youngsters take up farming as a career as it will no longer be a loss-making business.

Farmers body Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), however, felt the union Budget is “a big betrayal of Indian farmers.”

The Soybean Processors Association of India Chairman Davish Jain said, “It is a populist budget but with a purpose. … One has to wait and see how the government balances between giving farmers an MSP of 1.5 times of production cost and also maintain competitiveness in global agri markets.”

Customs duty on crude canola/rapeseed/mustard oil and sunflower oil is still lower by 5 per cent than other crude oils such as soybean and palm and this is a matter of great concern, he said.

“We are disappointed that our request for establishment of an Oilseed Development Fund has not been accepted although it is a highly import intensive commodity,” he added.

Swaraj Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav said, “The government has shown they don’t care for suffering of farmers and it demonstrates a clear lack of political will. They think they can win polls without addressing real concerns of farmers.”

Soma Parthasarathy of Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM) said while the Economic Survey showcased a box item on feminisation of agriculture, the Finance Minister’s perception of farmers as male farmers, and references to ‘Kisan Bhais’ misses out on the high contribution and criticality of women farmers in Indian agriculture.

Private sector player Godrej Agrovet’s Managing Director Balram Singh Yadav said: “The formula for MSP of Kharif crops — 1.5 times the cost of production — will immediately give relief to farmers reeling under low commodity prices.”

Prabhat Dairy’s Joint Managing Director and CEO Vivek Nirmal said: “Animal Husbandry has been facing major challenges such as cattle breeding, distressed health, availability of quality feed has led to lower output and low quality of milk. We are glad at the government’s proposal for funds allocation for animal husbandry.”

Monsanto India Region CEO Shilpa Divekar Nirula said, “An unbridled focus on agriculture coupled with enabling policies will go a long way in benefiting the larger farming community. These initiatives if complemented with enabling policies would go a long way in achieving the government’s target of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.”

Syngenta Vice President (Commercial Acceptance & Public Policy, South Asia) K C Ravi said, “The agricultural growth which has been suppressed in recent times would hopefully pick up with these measures.”

Dhanuka Agritech Chairman RG Agarwal said the Budget proposals will help improve rural economy and overall consumption, and will help agri inputs like fertilisers, seeds and pesticides companies to grow more.

Deloitte India Partner Anil Talreja said this is “a Roti-Kapada and Kisaan budget”. PwC India’s Ajay Kakra said the farmers can look forward to better price realisation now.

Deepak Fertiliser President and CFO Amitabh Bhargava said: “The budget is pro-agriculture” and several initiatives announced will help improve farmer incomes and lifestyle.

NCML chief Sanjay Kaul, however, said the agri business industry would be somewhat disappointed as no major reforms have been announced that could have enabled private investments to be stepped up.

KisanKraft Managing Director and promoter Ravindra Agrawal said it is definitely a pro-agriculture budget this time and the move of encouraging organisations engaged in farm produce business will help farmers.
International Panaacea President Harshvardhan Bhagchandka welcomed the focus on organic farming and said it will improve the quality of food and soil and reduce reliance on chemicals.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) Director Varda Mehrotra said, “The increased funding to the animal husbandry and fisheries sector will result in more growth, and it is critical that this is backed with strong legislation to ensure that animal welfare, human health, and environmental concerns are addressed.”
MK Jokai Agri Plantations Vice President Parimal Shah hoped the announcements will lead to implementation of tangible incentive programs for the farming sector, especially the tea plantation sector.

Weather Risk Management Services Advisor Sujay Ojha said: “The budget 2018 has created an optimistic environment for the farmers and agriculture and given the impetus which so far was lacking. The government has surely ensured that the sector was one of the top priorities.”

Date : 1 February 2018
Source : https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/agri-inc-lauds-profarmer-budget-activists-cry-betrayal/1243947