Published on 28 January, 2017
NAGAPATTINAM: Delta district farmers have claimed that unseasonal rains within the past few days have ruined paddy harvest and urged the Tamil Nadu government to open Direct Purchase Centers (DPC) and procure paddy with moisture content up to 20 per cent, to avoid exploitation by middlemen.
During the farmers' grievance meeting held at the district collector here on Friday, General Secretary of the Federation of Farmers Associations of delta districts, Arupathy Kalyanam submitted a memorandum to the state government during this regard.
Stating that harvest was now underway in areas where crops were raised with pump set irrigation, Kalyanam pointed out that the unseasonal rains throughout the past few days in delta districts are affecting harvest.
"Paddy now contains moisture content. Middlemen are trying to exploit the situation and are procuring paddy at very low cost, about Rs 200 less than the minimum support price per quintal citing moisture content," said Kalyanam.
He urged the Govt. to immediately open DPCs through Tamil Nadu Civil supplies Corporation and procure paddy with moisture content up to 20 per cent.
"This can avoid exploitation by middlemen," he said.
Referring to the submission made to the inter-ministerial central team that had visited the district early this week to assess the crop loss, Kalyanam appealed to the state government to seek release of compensation for crop harm from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) at the rate of Rs 30,000 per acre.
The state government ought to also request the Centre to entrust the entire crop insurance scheme to the Agriculture insurance company of India and avoid private insurance companies, that are oriented only towards profit, he added.
He also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to families of farmers who have died in Tamil Nadu because of drought and crop loss.
Published on 24 January, 2017
PUNE: The Central government isn't comfortable with sugar costs hovering around Rs 40kg within the wholesale market, especially with assembly elections round the corner and with major sugar producer Maharashtra likely to project a 10th fall in production compared to initial estimates.
Due to the rising prices, the Centre has summoned cane commissioners of the sugar producing states on Tuesday to assess the production and stock situation. Maharashtra's production figures are being keenly observed by the sugar industry.
Maharashtra had expected to produce 50 lakh tonnes of sugar in the beginning of the 2016-17 crushing season. However, three consecutive droughts including insufficient rain in June and July had damaged the crop.
"The per acre yield has been adversely impacted," said a government source. The state had already assessed the production and stock situation of sugar last week. "We think the state's sugar production might decline to 45 lakh tone," said another senior official.
Till January 20, sugar mills within the state produced 32.72 lakh tone of sugar, down 27th compared to the previous year. After sugar costs started moving up about a fortnight ago and crossed Rs 40kg within the wholesale market, the Centre had warned sugar mills that it would not hesitate to take action.
Published on 23 January, 2017
NEW DELHI: India's cash-driven Agri sector continues to reel under the effects of demonetization, with farmers growing fruits and vegetables suffering "huge losses", say farm leaders who need the Union budget to "compensate" them for these losses.
Amid reports of farmers dumping or refusing to harvest crops like tomatoes and peas as a result of a crash in prices as traders didn't have the cash to purchase the produce, farmer leader Ajay Vir Jakhar said, "Farmers growing perishables like fruits and vegetables have suffered losses of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per acre on an average.
"The loss is huge," Jakhar, Chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers' Forum, India), told IANS.
Explaining the "very bad situation", farm leader Sudhir Panwar, President of Kisan Jagriti Manch, told IANS: "When the dealer says that there's no money to purchase the crop, what is the way out for the farmer? Either sell at throwaway prices or dump the crop."
Fresh produce like vegetables and fruits are sold in cash, he said, adding that the trade remains affected even two-and-a-half-months when the Govt. scrapped higher-value currency notes on November 8.
"Cheques are not used. And farmers aren't entering into the new economic system (going cashless) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed. The result is a dip in prices," added Panwar, also member of the planning Commission of Uttar Pradesh.
In the face of criticism that the move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had hit the Rabi sowing season, the Govt. has maintained that, in fact, Rabi sowing acreage had gone up this year.
"Now the stand of the Govt. is that nobody ought to operate without paying tax. The main purpose of this exercise (demonetization) is that. And so, they have shut down their units, and those who were earning wages are now sitting idle."
While the cash situation has eased, the job situation continues to remain bleak, says Panwar, adding that the note ban effects are going to be felt for quite some time.
Published on 25 January, 2017
Focusing on the primary sector ought to be the aim of the Govt. and within the primary sector, it ought to be agriculture. Improvement in agricultural yields might transform the Indian economy to no bounds. It would automatically bridge the gap between rural and urban India, between the poor and the rich in society.
Within agriculture, the animal husbandry sector too might play a role. Tangible reforms are necessary in land transfer & ownership laws, giving incentives towards mechanized farming and in genetic animal breeding policies.
Initiatives like ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’ (an e-market portal for connecting breeders and farmers), ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’ (An animal wellness program) and 'Nakul Swasthya Patra' (Animal Health Cards) have showcased gift government’s vision on rural economy and it will positively harness good results in near future.
Taking the ‘Make in India’ to next level, the Govt. ought to now focus on ‘Make in Rural India’ campaign considering our Agriculture based economy.
Legitimizing every commercial transaction, strengthening tax collection measures and easing out income tax, coupled with e-banking might supplement the growth drivers.
Published on 17 January, 2017
PUNE: India’s grape exports to Europe and China are expected to extend by 10-20% despite lower realizations from the UK as companies are confident that an increase in volume can boost business.
‘The exportable grapes production is predicted to go up this year. Nashik, which supplies around eightieth grapes, has 55,000 hectares area under cultivation. Of this, area registered for exports this year is 33,000 hectares, compared with 27,000 hectares last year. We have also seen an increase within the number of farmers approaching United States for farm advisory in cultivating exportable grapes,’ said Ashok Sharma, president and chief executive of the Agri Business vertical of Mahindra & Mahindra.
Though the onset of a full-fledged season has been delayed by 2 to 3 weeks because of the snowfall in Europe and the onset of winter within the growing state of Maharashtra, the country has already shipped forty seven containers to Europe by January twelve. The number of grape orchards registered under Grapenet has more than doubled to 19,801 in 2016-17 from 18,327 in 2015-16. Incidentally, only those farmers, who have registered their orchards under the traceability system of Grapenet, are eligible to export grapes to Europe.
A good monsoon and excellent weather conditions are going to yield a bumper harvest of grapes. India had exported grapes worth Rs 1551 crore throughout the 2015-16 seasons.
"Despite 15 august 1945 depreciation of the pound, the supermarkets within the United Kingdom have not increased retail prices yet, because of which, price negotiation is taking time," said a corporate grape exporter, who did not want to be identified.
Indian exporters predict to urge more orders as Chile has shifted its focus towards the USA and Canada. According to Mahindra's estimate, around 6500-7000 containers will be exported to Europe, up from the 6200 containers last year.
"Also, there will be a rise of around 20-25% within the range of containers from India to China," said Sharma.
On the price front, Sharma said, "Due to significant demand in Europe, prices can stay firm up to the first week of February and after that they will normalize. The returns to growers and exporters will be impacted however because of availability of additional volume of fruits; export volume can either stay an equivalent or might even see a marginal increase than last year."
Other exporters said that farmer prices will be lower by Rs 5 /kg to Rs 10 /kg this year because of higher volumes and possibility of getting lower rates from the United Kingdom. According to the exporters, last year, farmers received rate of Rs 65/kg to Rs 85/kg, whereas as per the information on the market with Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Agency (APEDA), farmers received a median price of Rs 93/kg during the 2016 season.
Published on 17 January, 2017
MUMBAI: India's top sugar manufacturing western state of Maharashtra has so far produced 27 % less sugar than a year ago as nearly a third of the total mills have stopped crushing because of cane shortage, government and industry officials told Reuters.
A drop in production could lift local prices and prompt the world's second-biggest consumer to allow duty-free imports of the sweetener, supporting global prices that are trading near their highest level in 1-1/2 months.
Mills in Maharashtra have produced 3.14 million tons of sugar up to now within the current season that started on October 1, compared with 4.3 million tons produced throughout the same period a year ago, aforesaid a government official, who declined to be named.
Out of 149 sugar mills that started operations this year, 56 mills have stopped crushing as on January 15, the official said.
Sugar mills in Maharashtra generally operate between Novembers to Apr, however this year mills are suspending crushing operations early because of lower cane supplies.
"Going by the trend, it appears Maharashtra couldn't produce more than 4.6 million tones sugar within the current season," said Rohit Pawar, chief executive of Baramati Agro, that operates sugar mills in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra had produced 8.41 million tons of sugar within the 2015/16 season, whereas India's total output was 25.1 million tones.
Published on 20 January, 2017
NEW DELHI: Increasing water use efficiency was a necessary step to counter the water scarcity problems that the country might face within the coming years, said Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.
Adoption of sprinkler, drip irrigation system and cultivation of coarse cereals significantly millets were some of the measures to conserve water, he said.
Speaking at a session on International green Week-2017 at Berlin, Singh said that good seeds and fertilizer fail to attain their full potential if plants aren't optimally watered.
"In India, about 86% water is used for agriculture, 6 June 1944 for industries and 8 eager for domestic uses. The per capita availability of water was 5,177 cubic meter in 1951 and it'll reach to 1,341 and 1,140 cubic meter in 2025 and 2050 - that is near to water scarcity line," he said.
Greater efficiency in irrigation ought to be pursued vigorously, said Singh.
"Adoption of water saving technologies like sprinkler and drip irrigation system has proven extremely effective. The idea of multiple use of water should be popularized. Emphasis ought to be given on water resources conservations through watershed development in suitable areas and development of micro-water structures for rainwater harvesting," he said
The minister also added that connecting highly water stressed areas with perennial source of water through linking of rivers or water grids is another solution.
Further cultivation of coarse cereals particularly millets, that require low water and is a climate resilient crops ought to be promoted to meet the growing demand of safe and nutritious food worldwide, said Singh.
The minister same that because of continuous fall in per capita water availability and increasing population, it becomes necessary to utilize each drop of water efficiently and to produce more crops from the same available water and land, for providing food security to growing population.
Over exploitation of ground water resources, lack of proper crop alignment, low water use efficiency, lack of awareness among farmers, improper recycling and reuse of water, and problems related to industries were cited as the major reason for the drop in water levels according to Singh.
Published on 19 January, 2017
Farmers, who were said to be the worst affected because of the demonetization drive, are going cashless at least in Indore agricultural produce market committee (APMC) where farmers are now accepting alternative payment modes like cheques and RTGS (real time gross settlement).
This was claimed by Atul Chaturvedi, president, The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), who said that it was a very healthy development for the change general and has helped the industry to fulfill its commitments for export of soy meal.
"It is good to note that the Indore's APMC has gone totally cashless and the arrival of soybean has considerably increased. Further it's good to know that APMCs in Maharashtra state will have farmers on their committees, therefore providing them opportunity for a more equitable share in decision making."
"In the long run this can help in sustaining the interest of the farmers in agriculture and oilseed crops," he said in a release issued by sea on Thursday.
Chaturvedi also said that as per government's preliminary estimates, agricultural growth, in terms of Gross price added (GVA) at constant price, and ought to be higher than the earlier 2 years, at 4.1 percent.
This is owing to record kharif harvest, aided by a way better monsoon than the previous 2 years. Kharif food grain production is projected to rise by 8.9 per cent from a decline of 3.2 per cent in 2015-16 with the country receiving 97 per cent of long period average rainfall throughout the south-west monsoon (June to September).
For the country, the Rabi acreage on the whole is up 7 per cent compared to last year, with pulses, wheat and oilseeds gaining area. Acreage under oilseeds, as on 12 January 2017, has gone up to 81.47 lakh hectares from 75.06 hectares last year.
But the southern states of our country viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana have been suffering drought because of lower south-west monsoon (June-September) as well as north-west monsoon, which has lowered the productivity of their crop and their farmers face a double whammy of lower prices and high costs.
He said that on the international front, sunflower oil's price within the international market is still ruling below that of soya oil because of a bumper sunflower seed crop and large crushing within the world market.
"This is a welcome window of opportunity for our country to import the oil preferred by the households for its golden yellow hue," Chaturvedi said in the release.
Published on 10 January, 2017
NEW DELHI: After increasing its stake in International Tractors (ITL) — makers of Sonalika branded tractors — Japanese Agri-equipment manufacturer Yanmar is looking at leveraging India as a worldwide production base to extend its reach across international markets.
Raman Mittal, executive director, ITL, said, “As far as ITL and Yanmar goes, our product range enhances each other, our tractors are designed for multiple uses whereas they need experience in making products for specific applications.
Besides, we are setting up a state-of-the-art tractor producing facility in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. We’ll synergies operations and leverage the facility as a worldwide production base to expand presence across international markets, significantly in Europe and the United States.”
ITL’s second manufacturing facility has the capability to manufacture 200,000 units every year and is scheduled to come on-stream next month. The company has invested near Rs 800 crore at the site.
Naoki Kobayashi, India head and member of Yanmar Board at the time of the transaction had confirmed to The Economic Times that ITL is an integral a part of the expansion strategy for Yanmar and the recent investment is a testimony towards this commitment.
In one of the largest foreign capital inflow into India’s core agriculture-related industrial sectors, Japan’s Yanmar agreed to buy 17.5% stake in ITL late last month. Yanmar can acquire the shares command by the world’s largest private-equity fund, Blackstone group. The deal values ITL at Rs 9,000 crore.
The transaction is expected to shut within the next few months subject to receipt of requisite regulatory approvals. Yanmar is an early investor in ITL and had acquired 12.5% stake within the company in 2005.
“As private equity funds go, Blackstone group was mulling an exit. We are a debt-free company and have cash reserves of over Rs 3,000 crore.
We were earlier considering an IPO to supply an exit to Blackstone. However now that Yanmar has bought over the stake, the IPO is no longer necessary”, said Mittal.
Blackstone had invested in ITL in 2012 and this exit adds to a series of successful ones the New York-head quartered private-equity giant has made within the recent past. Blackstone group is estimated to own made a rough 3 times return on a four-year-old investment.
Published on 16 January, 2017
BHOPAL: in order to augment agriculture growth within the state for farmers Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that extra irrigation facility will be provided in 13 lakh hectare areas within the state.
Besides the state is also providing Rs 26,000 subsidy on five horse power water pumps to farmers within the state, he said.
"A subsidy of Rs 26,000 on 5 horse power pumps is being provided to farmers and additional irrigation facility will be provided on 13 lakh hectare area within the state," Chouhan aforesaid yesterday birthing the foundation of lift Irrigation scheme to be created at a cost of Rs 350 crore at village Bistan of Khargone district.
Chouhan further said that irrigation facility has been provided on 5.50 lakh hectare space through Narmada River throughout the last eleven years.
Beside this 2400 megawatt electricity has been generated. Also potable water to sixteen district of the state and water to industries is being supplied from Narmada River.
The state government can provide water in all the parts of the Khargone district for irrigation.
"Our aim is to provide the irrigation facility to the farmers to make the agriculture a profitable occupation and to double the farmers' income. The state government can take concrete steps during this regard," he said.
Referring to the ongoing public welfare schemes of the state government, Chouhan mentioned that each poor of the state can have their own house and land until 2022.
The Bistan lift irrigation theme can provide irrigation facility on 1.23 lakh hectare command area of Khandwa, Khargone and Badwani districts through canals of Indira Sagar irrigation Project.
Areas that are situated at high level where irrigation water is not possible by canals can get the lift irrigation facility. The lift irrigation scheme can provide irrigation facility on 22,000 hectare area.
The specialty of the scheme is such that an outlet will be provided on each 2.5 hectare area which will provide minimum 20 meter high pressure to enable farmers to irrigate their lands adopting sprinkler or drip irrigation system.
This scheme will be completed in 30 months period. Over 60,000 individuals of 92 villages will be benefited by this scheme.