Agriculture World

Government to Form 10,000 Farmer Produce Organisations (FPOs) & Promote Fisheries: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Centre is planning to form about 10,000 Farmer Produce Organizations or FPOs, informed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today (12 November 2019). While addressing the 6th World Congress on Rural & Agri Finance, Sitharaman told that the government has put rural & farmer development on a larger map. She also mentioned about a slew of measures to assist farmers, agriculture and fisheries sector.

Sitharaman said the direct benefit transfer use of Aadhaar will help in avoiding pilferage of financial aid being given to the farmers adding that Centre has thus been able to save money that would have otherwise gone to unknown people,

She said government provides Rs 6,000 to each farmer while the state governments provide some funds. Take for example, in Andhra Pradesh, besides Centre’s Rs 6,000 and additional funding from the state, every farmer gets Rs 13,000.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 February 2019, launched the ambitious Rs 75,000 crore PM Kisan scheme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh by digitally transferring the 1st installment of Rs 2,000 into the accounts of more than 1 crore farmers.

The government is pushing for eNAM or National Agriculture Market & the state governments are being cajoled into discarding non banking finance companies (NBFCs), Finance Minister said.  To recall, eNAM is an online trading platform for all types of agricultural commodities in India. It facilitates farmers, traders & buyers with online trading in commodities.

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She said,"I wish states will dismantle the APMCs & move towards eNAM”. The Agricultural Produce Market Committee is a marketing board created by state governments to make sure farmers are safeguarded from exploitation by large retailers & ensuring the farm to retail price spread does not reach excessively high.

Regarding the self-help groups (SHGs), Sitharaman pointed out to the 2019 Budget announcement to give Rs 1 lakh to each of these SHGs for the growth in rural areas. In the 2019 Budget, she announced that 1 woman in every SHG would be able to take a loan up to Rs 1 lakh under the MUDRA Scheme.

She added that there is soil fatigue in the country due to excessive use of fertilisers and chemicals. To increase the nutrition levels in soil, the Centre is coming out with a soil health card in addition to the PM-KISAN card, the FM said. This will help the farmer to identify every plot of his or her holding and its soil nutrition & moisture levels.

Sitharaman had also urged farmers to make India self-sufficient in edible oil production in the Budget 2019. India spends over Rs 70,000 crore to import nearly 15 MT edible oil to meet its yearly requirement of 25 MT. An official told media that "The Centre has already constituted a Group of Secretaries (GoS) to start a nationwide oil seed mission to minimize oil imports. It will soon be rolled out”. A 2-10%  cess will be levied on import of crude & refined edible oil to fund the mission, according to media report. Sitharaman urged farmers to produce oilseeds to generate enough edible oil in the country.

Besides agriculture, government also wants to promote fisheries in inland as well as coastal areas. For this, it is planning to set up fish processing centres, Sitharaman said.



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