Union Budget 2023: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the government will launch a Rs 2,200-crore Aatmanirbhar clean plant programme.
While presenting the Budget 2023-24, Sitharaman said that an agriculture accelerator fund will also be set up to encourage agri-startups in rural areas.
She further said, to enhance yield of extra long staple cotton, the government will adopt a cluster-based and value-chain approach. The government will also support Hyderabad-based millet institute as a centre of excellence.
At the behest of the government, the United Nations declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, with an aim to create awareness and increase production and consumption of the grain.
Anand Ramanathan, Partner, Deloitte India told Financial Express.com that the budget focuses a lot on the supply and input side of the agricultural value chain.
“The increased availability of credit, facilitation of better quality inputs through clean plant programmes, investments in digital infrastructure and skill development will help in increasing farm level productivity by building awareness and facilitating better quality inputs. The shift towards decentralised storage is also an important step in reducing wastage and helping increase shelf life of agricultural produce,” said Ramanathan.
According to Ramanathan, the increased focus on driving millet cultivation, consumption and exports, higher investment in fisheries and promotion of natural farming are all helpful from a crop diversification, sustainability and nutrition standpoint.
“The focus on better management of co-operatives and producer collectives will help farmers in realising better prices for their produce. Finally, the agriculture accelerator announcement for promoting startups in ag-tech enterprises will help increase yield and productivity on the supply side while also enhancing price realization for the farmer on the demand side through more efficient market linkages,” he added.
Parijat Jain, Partner at Bain & Company told Financial Express.com that the Agriculture Accelerator Fund is a welcome and innovative step by the Indian government.
“It will help accelerate the development of new technologies and innovative solutions addressing India’s specific agricultural issues ranging from supply chain to credit availability & inclusion,” Jain said.