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Union Budget: MoFPI funds double to Rs 1400 cr; agro processing stress
Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 12 : 30 PM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Union Budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley has proposed to raise the budgetary allocation for ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) to Rs 1,400 crore for the fiscal 2018-19.

The food processing sector is growing at 8% per annum said the finance minister and added, “Prime Minister Krishi Sampada Yojana is a flagship programme of the government for boosting the investment into the processing sector. Therefore allocation for the food processing ministry has been doubled from the Rs 715 crore in last fiscal to Rs 1400 crore in the fiscal 2018-19.”

Further, he stated that the government will promote establishing specialised agro processing and financial institution in this sector.

MoFPI has welcomed the move saying that it would help the ministry in realising all the potential of the sector. J P Meena, secretary, MoPFI, said, "The doubling of budget for MoFPI shows the government's vision. This would help us in creating more opportunities in the sector."

Besides better realisation of the agri export potential that is around US$100 billion against the current export of US$30 billion, the government has also decided to set up specialised cells in all the proposed 42 Mega Food Parks.

“we have decided to liberalise the agri export and I propose to set up state-of-the-art facilities in all the 42 proposed Mega Food Parks for this purpose,” he said.

Also the government with a corpus of Rs 500 crore shall start operation green for farmers producers organisations, agri logistics processing facilities and professional managements that will help in better post-harvest management of the perishables of the commodities like onions and potato.

The finance minister has proposed to further give boost to the organic farming. He said that the government has promoted the organic farming in a big way. The government has decided to support organic farming with a thousand hectare cluster under cultivation through farmers producers organisation or self-help groups. Besides cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants will also be encouraged in an organised manner.

“I propose to allocate a sum of Rs 200 crore for this purpose,” said Jaitley.  

The finance minister has decided to develop cluster model in the horticulture crops by reorienting the current schemes and promote the cluster-based development in agri commodities in partnership with ministries including MoFPI amongst others.

With agriculture production touching 275 million tonne of food grains and 300 million tonne of fruits and vegetables in India, the finance minister has also proposed to raise the minimum support price for Kharif crops by 1.5 times of the input cost. “This move will be instrumental in doubling the farmers’ income,” said Jaitley.

Not only higher MSPs but the government has also decided to ensure farmers get the MSP even if the prices in the market are low.  

“For better price realisation, the farmers need to make decision based on prices likely to be available after harvest. Government will create an institutional mechanism with participation of all concerned ministries, to double up the polices, practices for prices and demand forecast, use of future market, expansion of warehouse depository system, and to take specific decision about export and import related matters,” he said.

The government has also decided to expand the coverage of E-National Agriculture Market or eNAM. Until now 470 APMC have been connected to eNAM and rest will be done by March this year.

Further the government has decided to upgrade 22,000 rural haats, into Gramin Agricultural Markets. Physical infrastructure will be raised through MNREGA. These GARM will also be linked with the eNAMs and exempted from APMC regulations thereby helping the farmers to make direct contact with potential buyers.

“For this a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore is set aside for developing the agriculture market infrastructure in these 22,000 rural agriculture market and the 585 APMCs,” said Jaitley.

The finance minister has proposed to set a Rs 10,000 crore fund for infrastructure development for animal husbandry and fisheries sector for financing infrastructure requirement.
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