#Budget2021: Agri experts welcome move to integrate 1000 more mandis into eNAM

Integration of 1000 more mandis into National Agriculture Market (eNAM) would lead to nearly 30% of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets being connected and in terms of value, said Sitharaman while reading her budget speech

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech mentioned that to boost value addition in agriculture and allied products and their exports, the scope of Operation Green Scheme’ that is presently applicable to tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, will be enlarged to include 22 perishable products.
“Around 1.68 crores farmers are registered and 1.14 lakh crores of trade value has been carried out through e-NAMs. Keeping in view the transparency and competitiveness that e-NAM has brought into the agricultural market, 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with e-NAM. The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund would be made available to APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure facilities,” said Sitharaman.
Finance Minister proposed substantial investments in the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres. To start with, 5 major fishing harbours – Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat –will be developed as hubs of economic activity. We will also develop inland fishing harbours and fish-landing centres along the banks of rivers and waterways.
Seaweed farming is an emerging sector with potential to transform the lives of coastal communities. It will provide large scale employment and additional incomes. To promote seaweed cultivation, she proposed a Multipurpose Seaweed Park to be established in Tamil Nadu.
Experts call it a timely move
In his post-budget reaction, D Narain, Senior Bayer Representative, South Asia and CEO & MD, Bayer CropScience said, “2020 has been a year of exceptional and unprecedented challenges and has highlighted the critical importance of two core sectors, agriculture and healthcare. The Union Budget 2021 has correctly called out the role of these two sectors in leading the nation’s recovery and being catalysts to sustainable growth.”
“Higher allocations for both healthcare and agriculture with a specific focus on building public health infrastructure, expansion of credit to farmers, the additional allocation for rural infrastructure and micro-irrigation are welcome moves. These initiatives complement actions already initiated to double farmers’ incomes and enabling wider healthcare access for the nation,” he added futher.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Partner, Government and Public Sector, EY India, said, “Integration of 1000 more mandis into National Agriculture Market (eNAM) would lead to nearly 30% of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets being connected and in terms of value, it would be more than 50% of the trade in APMCs. This would go a long way in enhancing the electronic trade in the country. Permitting APMCs to take benefit of Agriculture Infra Fund would further accelerate development of basic infrastructure in mandis. Also, the strengthening of Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) to set up the commodity ecosystem would have twin benefits of increasing adaptation of Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (eNWR), thereby ultimately benefiting the farmer and accelerating the e-NAM ecosystem development.”
Sitharaman mentioned, “the MSP regime has undergone a sea change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities. The procurement has also continued to increase at a steady pace. This has resulted in an increase in payment to farmers substantially.”
She shared the details to support her point: In case of wheat, the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-2014 was 33,874 crores. In 2019-2020 it was `62,802 crores, and even better, in 2020-2021, this amount, paid to farmers, was 75,060 crores. The number of wheat growing farmers that were benefitted increased in 2020-21 to 43.36 lakhs as compared to 35.57 lakhs in 2019-20. For paddy, the amount paid in 2013-14 was `63,928 crores. In 2019- 2020 this increased `1,41,930 crores. Even better, in 2020-2021, this is further estimated to increase to `172,752 crores. The number of farmers benefitted increased from 1.24 crores in 2019-20 to 1.54 crores in 2020-21. In the same vein, in case of pulses, the amount paid in 2013-2014 was `236 crores. In 2019-20 it increased `8,285 crores. Now, in 2020-2021, it is at `10,530 crores, a more than 40 times increase from 2013-14.
Finance Minister also added: “To provide adequate credit to our farmers, I have enhanced the agricultural credit target to 16.5 lakh crores in FY22. We will focus on ensuring increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries. We are enhancing the allocation to the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund from `30,000 crores to `40,000 crores. The Micro Irrigation Fund, with a corpus of `5,000 crores has been created under NABARD, I propose to double it by augmenting it by another 5,000 crores.”