Provide incentivise for increasing agricultural biotechnology research

It will enhance quality of seeds & also play a major role in enabling an ‘ever-green revolution’

Agriculture, which is the largest informal sector and the main driver in the Indian economy, experienced distress due to the demonetisation drive. With the Budget 2017 being preponed, expectations are running high especially in the Indian agricultural sector. Many companies are yet to realise that there is a scope behind it, by which the current scenario can change for good with logical budget allocation and implementations.

For the rural economy, which caters to 65 percent (800 million) of India’s population, it is important that the agricultural sector receive top priority. According to the reports, budget 2017 will focus on making the life of lower income groups, ie farmers and the SMEs, easy and convenient with the introduction of its measures and initiatives.

In addition, discussions are ongoing regarding methods that can be implemented by the government to increase the income of farmers by two-fold by 2022. Other notable agriculture-related discussions in the run-up to the budget presents ways to bring agriculture in the purview of digital payments revolution and the move towards high-value agricultural products.

In a country like India, where 50 percent of rural households depend on agriculture, the well-being of the rural economy is directly interconnected to improving farmer livelihoods. The 2017 budget needs to bring about change by providing the sector with positive initiatives. They should also enjoy the freedom to choose new agricultural technologies including seeds and services.

The industry has repeatedly given several recommendations to resolve these problems; the most prominent one is to establish a mustard oil development board that would work in collaboration with societies and agricultural institutes; working in the field of mustard seeds in order to promote production and popularity with respect to consumption.

They would keep track of market updates, government notifications, market information updates, R&D, branding and promotion of mustard oil. There is a strong need to focus on the marketing of mustard oil, as it will help this segment in positioning the product in line with the changing needs and demands. This, in turn, will regulate import and export of one of the most popularly grown crops in India.

Import of vegetable oils during December 2016 fell to 15 percent in comparison to December 2015. Imports in December 2016 stood at 1,209,685 tonnes compared to 1,420,902 tonnes in December 2015; consisting of 1,174,296 tonnes of edible oils and 35,389 tonnes of non-edible oil, according to data compiled by Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA). The overall import of vegetable oils during first two months of current oil year 2016-17 – November and December 2016 is reported at 2,385,149 tonnes compared to 2,758,337 tonnes, a visible decline of 14 percent.

When speaking of countries in the Asia Pacific region, they are increasingly embracing agricultural biotechnology. Given their contribution and the potential to affect the agricultural economy, public and private agricultural research institutions, seed companies and agriculture universities should be incentivised to increase their agricultural biotechnology research to create even newer and modern seed technologies.

This will not only help in creating enhanced quality seeds, while playing a major role in enabling an ‘ever-green revolution’, but will also help create new IPs, reduce import costs, bring upsurge in local jobs and even provide a boost to the agriculture manufacturing sector. While this is what, which lacked in the 2016 Budget, we are optimistic that the government comprehends this opportunity and accordingly makes provisions in the upcoming Budget 2017.

-Written by Vivek Puri in Business Standard.  See original article link here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *