Latest India

India's agri sector gets Rs 10 lakh crore credit in FY18

New Delhi, Apr 24: Agriculture credit is growing every year and reached Rs 10 lakh crore last fiscal, the union government said today while stressing upon the need to increase the flow to small farmers as well as providing loan access to tenant cultivators.


The agriculture ministry will soon bring a proposal before the Cabinet for improving lending to small and marginal farmers based on the recommendations of the Sarangi committee.


"Agriculture credit flow is going up every year. We have achieved the disbursal target of Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017-18 fiscal. The target for the current financial year has been enhanced to Rs 11 lakh crore," said Ashish Kumar Bhutani, joint secretary in Ministry of Agriculture.


On the sidelines of a conference, organised by industry body Ficci, he said disbursing agriculture credit is not a challenge but the challenge is to give it to right farmers.


Bhutani said Rs 6.8 lakh crore was short-term crop loans out of Rs 10 lakh crore credit disbursed last fiscal. In the short-term crop loans, he said 50 per cent amount was provided to small and marginal farmers.


He said the ministry has sought data from banks for better targeting of agriculture credit.


To provide credit access to lessee cultivators, he said government think tank Niti Aayog is working to find a suitable mechanism.


In his budget speech for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that NITI Aayog, in consultation with state governments, would evolve a suitable mechanism to enable access of lessee cultivators to credit without compromising the rights of the land owners.


"Presently, lessee cultivators are not able to avail crop loans. Consequently, a significant proportion of arable land remains fallow and tenant cultivators are forced to secure credit from usurious money lenders," he had said.


Addressing the conference, Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WRDA) Chairman B B Pattanaik announced that negotiable warehousing receipts would be now issued electronically, helping farmers to get easy bank finance against their stocks.


NABARD Deputy MD R Amalorpavanathan spoke about the need of integrated financing to farmers. He also pointed out that farmers are in distress because their margins have squeezed on account of rising input cost and low realisation. 


PTI

In a first, organic apples from US arrive in India

Market experts believe Kashmir apple industry will have to embrace organic in a big way for remaining competitive in the market.  

Ziraat Times Exclusive

Srinagar, March 12: 


For the first time, India has started importing organic apples in a big way from the United States. 

Sources in National Horticulture Board told Ziraat Times, one of India's leading fresh fruit importer I.G. International has introduced organic apples from Wenatchee, USA in Indian market this week. 


This development is likely to come as a jolt to Kashmir's apple industry which banks heavily on domestic Indian market for apple trade. There have been little efforts in Kashmir to introduce organic fruits, including apples.


Market experts believe Kashmir apple industry will have to embrace organic in a big way for remaining competitive in the market.  


Presently, Kashmir produces about 1.44 million tonnes  of apples, which accounts for 71 per cent of India's total production.


According to official data, after bananas, apple is the most consumed fruit in India and a favourite among the health and fitness enthusiasts. 


India's apple consumption of apples in the country is estimated at 2.24 million tonnes in 2017-18, up from 2.23 million tonnes the previous year. 


India’s consumption of international varieties of apples has also risen considerably over the years. 


Now, with Organic Fruit consumption constituting of 52% of total organic food products in India, demand for Organic Apples have also gone up significantly.


As reported by Ziraat Times last month, the quantum of US apple exports to India was constantly growing, the US Under Secretary of Agriculture, Ted A McKinney, had said on this visit to India on february 22.


Seeking lower agriculture tariffs for American items, Mr Ted said 'it would be in best interest of Indian consumers as well as farmers.'


Lately, apple farmers in both Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir worry about India's commitments under a new East Asian free trade agreement which, if adopted in totality, could see drastic reduction in the existing import tariffs on commodities like apples. 


Farmers and businessmen in J&K believe that if the existing tariffs on commodities like apples and walnuts would continue to be reduced, it would mean a major blow to the horticulture industry of Kashmir, which provides livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people. 


Stakeholders raise concerns over provisions of Pesticides Management Bill 2017

Srinagar, April 11:


Pesticide manufacturers in India have opposed certain provisions of the Pesticides Management Bill 2017, which, they believe are detrimental to agriculture and agro-chemical industry.


The Bill has recently been released by the Union Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare for comments from stakeholders. 


Interestingly, there has been no debate or discussion on the new bill in Jammu & Kashmir so far even as the state is one of the top-most consumer states of pesticides.


When Ziraat Times sought the views of government officials and people associated with pesticides sector in the state, what emerged is that the state is almost completely unaware about the formulation of this new bill and its implications on the state.

 

Pesticide makers in India want an immediate ban on no-frill import of formulations, which are flooding the market, while Indian companies are forced to go through a labyrinthine process to sell their products. 


“Excessive powers mooted in Registration committee could lead to return of Inspector Raj. They should be made liable for punishments in case of mistakes,” the Confederation of All India Small and Medium Pesticides Manufacturers Association (CAPMA) said.


The Bill, which seeks to replace the existing law (Insecticides Act, 1968), has a lot of shortfalls and loopholes, the association argues.


Allowing import of formulations without having to register technicals is contrary to the goal of Make in India campaign launched by the Union government, they said.


“Punishments for violations prescribed in the Bill are disproportionate to the offences or violations. Even small mistakes could attract heavy penalties,” he said.

The association felt that the actions of pesticides inspectors should be under scrutiny and aggrieved parties should be allowed to challenge their actions in an appellate authority, it said.

The association estimated that the country was losing over ₹7,000 crore in forex by permitting imports of ready-made pesticide formulations.

“The policy guidelines created in 2007 gives total monopoly to importers, mainly multinationals to charge exorbitant prices from farmers for the imported pesticides, restricting entry of Indian manufacturers,” Raja Mahender Reddy of CAPMA said.


(With inputs from HBL)

US apple exports to India growing: US official

ZT News


New Delhi, Feb 22: The quantum of US apple exports to India was constantly growing, the US Under Secretary of Agriculture, Ted A McKinney, said here on Thursday.


This latest admission could set alarm bells ringing in India's main apple producing region of Kashmir, where farmers are getting increasingly concerned about rising apple imports from global markets and stiffer competition.


Seeking lower agriculture tariffs for American items, Mr Ted said 'it would be in best interest of Indian consumers as well as farmers.'


Lately, apple farmers in both Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir worry about India's commitments under a new East Asian free trade agreement which, if adopted in totality, could see drastic reduction in the existing import tariffs on commodities like apples. 


Meanwhile, the US expects more export of protein meal such as soybean and DDG obtained from corn to India besides reduction in agricultural tariff.


"We do believe it will benefit Indian farmers and consumers to be looking at more purchases of DDG and soybean meal and number of other products," Mr. Ted said while briefing media about his ongoing visit.


"Your own farmers want to produce their own poultry, dairy, pork, beef. And we are happy to provide ingredients, highly nutritious protein."


McKinney said the total export from India to US in 2017 stood at $2.6 billion while that from US to India in the same year was $1.6 billion.


"Based on our experiences, tariffs are not the best way to live up farmers. We do believe (lowering) it will benefit Indian farmers and consumers, who are looking at more purchase of DDG and soybean meal and number of other products," he said.


He further said that US had stopped subsidies to its farmers and tariffs were "problematic most of the times".


"We do not give subsidies anymore despite what many people think around the world. We have safety nets, insurance net. That is self-funded by farmers. But tariff is not good thing if you are in free trade and if you want highest quality, lowest cost product," he said.


Farmers and businessmen in J&K believe that if the existing tariffs on commodities like apples and walnuts would continue to be reduced, it would mean a major blow to the horticulture industry of Kashmir, which provides livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people. 


(With IANS inputs)

Union cabinet approves MoU on India-Iran cooperation in agriculture

New Delhi, March 15: 


The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Iran for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors. The MoU was signed on 17th February, 2018 during the visit of the President of Iran to India. 


The MoU provides for cooperation in the areas of agricultural crops, agricultural extension, horticulture, machinery, post harvest technology, plant quarantine measures, credit and cooperation.


It also provides for cooperation in soil conservation and water management, integrated nutrients management, seed technology and agricultural marketing. Livestock improvement, dairy development, animal health and other fields as mutually agreed upon fall within the scope of this MoU. Cooperation will also be effected through exchange of experts, materials and information, exchange of trainees and scientists on study visits/training programmes, facilitation of relevant conferences and workshops and any other means as may be mutually agreed upon.


Under the MoU, a Joint Working Group (JWG) will be formed to monitor the activities carried out in fulfillment of this MoU. The JWG will hold its meeting alternately in India and Iran once in every two years. The MoU will be valid initially for a period of five years and will be automatically extended for a subsequent period of five years unless either party notifies the other party of its intent of terminating it.


Agencies

Handicraft department unveils portable carpet loom

Srinagar, Feb 6: In what could be a game changer for the dying carpet sector, the handicraft department today unveiled portable carpet loom which is half the size and 10 times less in prize than the traditional loom.


Designed by a Kashmir-based carpet dealer and weaver, Syed Altaf Hussain who got the idea of developing the portal loom after his visit to Iran.


Speaking on the occasion, assistant director, handicraft department, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah said that modern loom could be a game changer as it would provide option of portability. “Traditional looms which are used currently by artisans are big in size and difficult to move, but this loom can be used at any place.”


He said that majority of their loom were not used by the artisans due to their large size. “We issued some 1400 looms previously but majority of them were not used. So the one made by Syed Altaf Hussain is very efficient and I appeal all the artisans to get benefitted with it,” he said.


District development commissioner, Abid Rashid Shah also spoke on the occasion.

The awareness camp was attended by artisans, officials of handicraft, handloom department.

Other news

Amazon-style e-mandi planned in India

New Delhi, Feb 6: 


As the union government completes its ambitious programme of connecting all large 585 agriculture produce marketing committees (APMCs) or regulated mandis to eNational Agriculture Market (eNAM) by the end of next month, it plans to fully establish an Amazon or Flipkart for agri produce. 


The eNAM is billed to act as the technology platform for millions of farmers to sell their produce, and remove the intermediaries APMCs were known to create.

 

In his Budget speech last Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitely, said 470 APMCs have already been connected to eNAM network. That leaves another 115 mandis to go online in about two months. 

India's onions go global; Govt ends MEP, allows its export

Ziraat Times


New Delhi, Feb 4: A day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke at length about expanding agricultural exports, the government removed the restriction on onion shipments. It has removed the minimum export price (MEP) on onion and allowed domestic traders to ship out all its varieties.


“We are taking all measures to promote export of agriculture products,” tweeted Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu. Back in November, the government had imposed an MEP of $ 850, or Rs 54,000, a tonne. Such limits are imposed every now and then to discourage foreign traders from buying at a time when lack of supply lifts prices beyond a certain limit. However, traders had complained they were already fighting heavy competition abroad from producers in Egypt and Pakistan. India is the second-largest producer of onion after China but is also among the largest consumers. The MEP decision had been taken after the price had risen to its highest in two years.


Retail prices across major cities had been Rs 40-50 a kg. From there, prices had recently crashed as supply entered the market. Friday’s move might also have been a response to that, a sector insider said. At the largest wholesale onion market, Lasalgaon in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, prices per quintal dipped from Rs 2,850 to Rs 2,400 over the past month.

Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish launched​

New Delhi, Jan 30:​

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh today launched the Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish, developed by Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi. Ammonia helps in preventing ice from melting and use of formaldehyde increases the shelf life of fish therefore many people in the fisheries sector are using these chemicals. 

The kit helps in detecting both the chemicals in the fish. Shri Singh informed that continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death. Union Agriculture Minister said it today at the launch of kit in New Delhi.

​Mr.​ Singh said that fish consumption is beneficial for health. Since fresh fish is highly perishable in nature, so fish don’t have a long shelf life. India’s domestic fish market is reported to be selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in markets located far away from landing centres or production sites. According to Indian and International regulations, the fresh fish and shellfish should be preserved only by means of ice and use of substances other than ice to maintain quality is a fraudulent practice.