Budget 2018: The seasonal and regional production of these perishable commodities pose a challenge in connecting farmers and consumers in a manner that satisfies both, the FM, Arun Jaitley observed.
Budget 2018: Operation greens, a Rs 500-crore initiative, promises to bring farmers closer to the market place with better logistics and processing facilities. Aiming to take India’s agri exports to $100 billion from $30 billion currently, the government plans to liberalise exports, offer a 100% tax break for producer organisations and set up state-of-the art testing facilities in all 42 mega food parks. So far 470 APMCs have been connected to the e-NAM network and the rest will be connected by March 2018. Around 22,000 rural haats will be developed and converted into Gramin Agricultural Markets. The idea appears to be a permanent solution to check frequent price volatility in essential vegetables such as onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Agriculture policies have, by and large, been production centric and the government is keen to help farmers sell their produce at nearby mandis.
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The intention seems to be to keep prices from shooting up to a level where consumers resist buying. Agri experts say there should be guidelines to prevent prices from falling too low because that prompts farmers to let crops rot in the fields. The seasonal and regional production of these perishable commodities pose a challenge in connecting farmers and consumers in a manner that satisfies both, the FM, Arun Jaitley observed. Sanjay Kaul, MD & CEO of NCML, said the number of FPOs was increasing but farmers were yet to acquire the necessary scale to get a better control over pricing. The 100% tax deduction for FPOs was a good move, for companies with a turnover less than Rs 100 crore, for a period of five years from FY18-19. This would encourage professionalism in post harvest value addition in agriculture, he said.
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There are registered 1,033 FPOs in the country who have emerged as an alternative to cooperatives. According to a study by Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), the post-harvest loss incurred in fruits & vegetables between 4.58% and 15.88%. However, the study had not considered the losses in the course of long haul transport to terminal markets.