The Indian government’s budget for the financial year 2023-24 (April 2023-March 2024) looks to provide a fillip to the agriculture startups and improve credit flow for farmers.
Some key points for agriculture in the Budget 2023-24
Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture
While presenting the 2023-24 budget, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Digital Public infrastructure for agriculture will be built as an open source, open standard and inter operable public good. She said this will enable inclusive, farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit, and insurance, help for crop estimation, market intelligence, and support for growth of agri-tech industry and startups.
Agriculture Accelerator Fund
An Agriculture Accelerator Fund will be set-up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas, which will aim at bringing innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices, increase productivity and profitability.
Enhancing productivity of cotton crop
To enhance the productivity of extra-long staple cotton, the government will adopt a cluster-based and value chain approach through Public Private Partnerships (PPP). This will mean collaboration between farmers, state and industry for input supplies, extension services, and market linkages.
Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Programme
The government will launch an Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme to boost availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high value horticultural crops at an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore.
Global Hub for Millets: ‘Shree Anna’
India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of millets or ‘Shree Anna’ in the world. It grows several types of ‘Shree Anna’ such as jowar, ragi, bajra, kuttu, ramdana, kangni, kutki, kodo, cheena, and sama. To make India a global hub for ‘Shree Anna’, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.
The agriculture credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries. The government will launch a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies, and expand the market.
Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres
Over the next three years, the Centre will facilitate one crore farmers to adopt natural farming. For this, 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be set up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.
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