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Uncertainty about extension of stock limit on pulses prevails

The pulses trading industry is unsure whether the stock holding limit on pulses–imposed by the government in July to tame inflation in food prices–will be extended. The order on stock holding limit was valid till October 31.

Stock limit on pulses and cooking oils was one of several policy measures taken by the government to tame inflation in the prices of food commodities.

Some of the major price control policy measures taken by the central government, such as ban on trading of chana on the NCDEX, opening of import and the imposition of stock limit have a bearing on prices of pulses. Stock limit was imposed on tur, chana, urad and masur till October 31.

“Barring lentils, prices of all other pulses are ruling around the MSP or below MSP,” said Vivek Agarwal, director, JLV Agro.

The price control measures did affect overall demand and price movement during the festival season. The processing industry saw good demand for chana dal, which is used for making a variety of Diwali sweets and savouries, while demand for tur dal was slow.

“Festival demand lasted only for about a fortnight and volumes have been considerably down. Everyone, including the retail consumers, are buying hand to mouth,” said Nitin Kalantry, a pulses processor from Latur in Maharashtra. “The trade participants are disappointed and not in a mood to trade.”

With Assembly election due in Uttar Pradesh, trade participants think the government may continue with price control measures. On November 2, the central food secretary has advised the Uttar Pradesh government “to study and revise the order of the state government so that the supply chain is not disturbed, and no shortage of oil is created”.

“The food ministry had been receiving representations from various stakeholders regarding the stock limit laid down by the state governments, which appear to be insufficient,” wrote Sudhanshu Pandey, secretary (food) in a letter to the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh.

With supply of pulses in the market being steady, their prices are expected to remain under pressure. “The supply side is good, which may keep prices stable at current levels during the next few months,” said Agarwal.

Govt to promote 20 indigenous and globally popular exotic fruit crops this year: Narendra Singh Tomar

The Centre will promote expansion of area and production of 10 globally popular exotic fruit crops of commercial importance and as many indigenous fruit crops with high nutrition in the current year, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday. “During the current year, 8,951 hectares area for exotic fruits and 7,154 hectares area for indigenous fruits will be brought under cultivation,” Tomar said addressing a conference to commemorate the international year of fruits and vegetables.

The state governments have been given targets for 2021-22 for area expansion of these crops, an official statement quoted Tomar having said at the event.

The event was organised by the Union Agriculture Ministry in collaboration with the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Tomar further said while India is the world’s second largest producer of horticulture crops, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that the country needs post harvest food processing revolution and value addition amid increased agri-production.

The Prime Minister has advocated for increased private sector participation along with research and development in the agriculture sector, he added.

India produces about 12 per cent of the global fruits and vegetable production. The country’s horticulture production in 2020-21 was record 329.86 million tonnes, higher than 320.77 million tonnes in the previous year, he added.

The minister expressed hope that India can achieve the goal of bringing fruits and vegetables to the plate of the poorest of the poor, not as a special food but as a daily necessity.

Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and FAO Representative in India Tomio Shichiri were among others present at the event.

Arunachal Pradesh comes up with scheme to boost agriculture and horticulture produce

Giving a boost to state’s agriculture and horticulture sectors, Chief Minister Pema Khandu launched two ambitious schemes, one in agriculture sector called ‘AtmaNirbhar Krishi Yojna’ and the other for horticulture named ‘AtmaNirbhar Bagwani Yojna’.

The schemes are part of the AtmaNirbhar program announced during the Budget session held in February this year. A total amount of Rs 120 crores – Rs 60 crore for each scheme – has been allocated to the two concerned departments of Agriculture and Horticulture.

The AtmaNirbhar Krishi Yojna under the department of Agriculture is the subsumed version of the earstwhile Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojna and Chief Minister’s Samuh Yojna with more thrust and provision of bank loan. Likewise, the AtmaNirbhar Bagwani Yojna is the earlier scheme called Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojna under the department of Horticulture.

Lauding the departments of Agriculture and Horticulture and the banks for coming with proper guidelines of the schemes that will immensely benefit farmers and Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the state, Khandu appealed all to get in touch with their respective district administrations to get the details and avail the schemes.

“These two schemes are unique as these are both based on front-ended subsidies. Credit link will be provided to the beneficiaries by SBI, Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank and Arunachal Pradesh Cooperative Apex Bank,” Khandu said.

He informed that no land document like Land Possession Certificate (LPC) will be required for SHGs availing the schemes. A simple certificate from the concerned EAC, CO or BDO will serve the purpose.

Also there would will be no collateral (guarantee or mortgage) in respect of inpidual schemes up to Rs 1.60 lakhs. For SHGs collateral will not be required for loans up to Rs 10 lakhs.

“The best part is that the components of the schemes will be 45% govt subsidy, 45% bank loan and only 10% will have to be borne by the farmer,” informed Khandu.

He expressed optimism that the schemes will be very much beneficial to about 3700 SHGs of the state, which have women members as majority.

Stressing on timely implementation of the schemes as farming is dependent on seasons, the chief minister asked the implementing agencies not to wait for the last dates set up for processes like selection of beneficiaries, etc.

The department has set up September month as the time period for final selection of beneficiaries.

“As per official records, we have almost 25 lac hac of cultivable land availabl but unfortunately we are using only 3.5 lac hectares at the moment. We need to utilize our land bank optimally for our state to become atmanirbhar,” he asserted.

The Bagwani Yojna is for cultivation of fruits like apple, kiwi, orange, arecanut, walnut and persimmon while the Krishi Yojna will deal with scientific land terracing, tea and rubber, double cropping, farm mechanization, FPO, cultivation of buckwheat, O-bollu, apiculture, etc.

The schemes will be implemented through a state level committee headed by the chief secretary and district level committees headed by respective deputy commissioners. The District Agriculture and district Horticulture Officers will be the implementing officers, who will be selecting the beneficiaries in the districts.

The guidelines for implementation of the schemes have been prepared by NABCONS, the consultant agency of NABARD.

Expressing gratitude to the banks and NABARD, Khandu said under the present government at the centre, agri-horti sector is getting a push never seen before, especially in the North East.

“Recently the union cabinet has revived the North East Regional Marketing Corporation which will be hand holding the NE states in marketing their products. Also the Centre has relaunched the Oil Palm Mission in the region with an amount of Rs 11040 crore for five years,” he informed.

In fact, the oil palm program was being implemented in the state few years back but it couldn’t succeed. About 4000 hac of oil palm trees were cultivated but the promoters failed to establish their factories resulting in loss to the farmers. Khandu said incentives this time have been doubled, which should be viable for promoters.

“We are in touch with some of the promoters and we target to cultivate at least this year 15000 hectares this year,” he said.

He called upon the deputy commissioners, especially of the foothill areas, who were virtually connected to the program, to study feasibility of oil palm cultivation in their respective districts.

The Chief Minister revealed that he has offered to host the proposed regional level oil palm business summit at Namsai anytime soon. Besides attracting investors, he said the summit will also educate farmers of the state.

Farmers body FAIFA lauds Centre’s promotion of digital technologies for agriculture

Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) has lauded the steps taken by the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare to promote digital technology in the farm sector and has has urged the government to take appropriate steps for smooth implementation and execution of the digital agriculture mission.

FAIFA comprises farmers and farm workers of commercial crops across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat . The farmers’ body feels that the agriculture-friendly steps by the government will give added impetus to the pace of major farm sector reforms in the country and help in increasing farm income.

FAIFA believes that the move to foster technology adoption in the agriculture sector will enable farmers, especially smallholder farmers (SHF), to make informed decisions on crops to grow, seed variety to use, and adoption of best practices. Additionally, it will provide a framework to farmers for future dealings while selling their products and help them navigate the market easily while also reducing the risk of uncertainty. This is besides maximizing the yield thereby making the agriculture sector profitable.

The farmers’ body understands that introduction of digital technologies in the farm sector will aid precise targeting of all subsidies, services, and policies to benefit the farming community. This is in addition to modernizing agriculture supply chains, enabling agri supply chain players to plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. It will also give a push to projects that use artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies” to modernize the country’s agriculture sector.

FAIFA is of the opinion that the government’s decision to partner with private sector enterprises establishes a common intention to educate and increase farmers’ income between government, companies, and farming community to bring in revolutionary changes in the Indian agriculture sector. This move will result in meaningful outcomes for smallholder farmers by increasing their income, protecting their produce, and encouraging future generations to also take up agriculture.

It has urged the government to undertake periodic review of the digital technology mission in consultation with farmers, and consider the inclusion of farmer representatives of FAIFA in crop-related stakeholders’ meetings and decision-making processes.

Javare Gowda, president, FAIFA said “We welcome recent decisions of the government to promote usage of digital technology in the farming sector. India is blessed to have a large pool of scientific human resources that are working relentlessly to address field-level problems and to evolve technological solutions. In addition, there are many technologies and practices developed by inpiduals and corporate bodies in the private sector. Despite this, all the technologies developed by these scientists have not always reached all the farmers. It is heartening to see the government giving a big push to technology adoption in the agriculture sector which is currently underserved.”

Yashwanth Chidipothu, national spokesperson, FAIFA added, “Recent government moves to facilitate the adoption of digital technology in agriculture will go a long way in addressing India’s agrarian crisis. It will complement enabling policy measures introduced by the government to transform the agriculture sector. We urge the government to ensure its implementation in all sincerity so that the benefit of technology reaches all farmers and ushers in another green revolution in the agricultural sector. We also propose a periodic review of these measures in consultation with farmers to ensure they are able to fully benefit from it.”

IFFCO’s nano urea technology revolution for agriculture sector: Amit Shah

In the country’s first National Cooperative Conference, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday appreciated the fertiliser cooperative IFFCO‘s use of nanotechnology to make IFFCO nano urea liquid.

Shah described the role of IFFCO in making the Green Revolution successful in the country and praised the world’s first nano liquid urea manufactured by IFFCO.

Terming it a new revolution in the agriculture sector, he said “the entire cooperative community is appreciating this noble effort to change the agriculture sector for the benefit of farmers.”

In the conference, the Union Home Minister said that a big company like IFFCO is making farmers partner in its net profit which is based on the core mantra of the cooperative.

IFFCO became a society in the year 1967 with 57 cooperatives. The society has more than 36,000 cooperative members today and distributes its pidends to about 5.5 crore farmers.

“Usually when a very big company makes a profit, a large part of it goes to the owner. But this is not the case in cooperatives. Whatever IFFCO will earn today, every pie will go to the homes of 5.5 crores of farmers and this is called cooperative,” stated Shah.

World Bank project promotes Premium Quality Rice in Joha variety

The World Bank financed Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) is promoting Premium Quality Rice (PQR) particularly the Joha through market led demonstrations.

This is supported by Best Management Practices (BMPs) and technical advisory of International Rice Research Institute.

The demonstrations are being carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Assam Agricultural University (AAU) with scientific Package of Practices (PoP).

Joha rice is grown in Sali/ Kharif season.

Major Joha varieties included in this are Kola Joha, Keteki Joha, Bokul Joha, Kunkuni Joha.

APART stated that the project provides seeds; fertiliser and need based pesticides to the beneficiary farmers in the integrated crop management demonstrations and learning centre demonstrations, whereas, in mini kits only seed is provided to the farmers.

A total budget of integrated crop management demonstrations is Rs 6000 (0.3ha), whereas the budget for the learning centre demonstrations is Rs 31000 including a field day/crop show at the time of harvesting. In the market, the cost of seed varies from Rs 50-60/ Kg.

It further stated the seed of premium quality rice varieties given in non-chronic flood affected areas to the beneficiary farmers is of good quality. The seed of traditional rice varieties is not certified so the beneficiary farmer can sell this as seed in the informal way, from one farmer to other leading to horizontal spread of seeds.

‘Onion prices being stabilised with buffer stock release; efforts on to soften tomato, potato rates’

Amid a rise in prices of three key vegetables, the Centre on Sunday said onion prices are being stabilised with the release of buffer stock, while efforts are on to soften the rates of tomato and potato.

Onion stocks are being released in the market on the first-in-first-out basis in a calibrated manner from the last week of August in a bid to moderate prices and ensure minimum storage loss, it said. As a result of this, the retail onion price was ruling in the range of Rs 42-57 per kg in metros on October 14. The all-India average retail price of onion was ruling at Rs 37.06 per kg, while the average wholesale rate was Rs 30 per kg on October 14, it added.

In retail markets, onion was ruling at Rs 42 per kg in Chennai, Rs 44 per kg in Delhi, at Rs 45 per kg in Mumbai and Rs 57 per kg in Kolkata on October 14. In a statement, the food and consumer affairs ministry said buffer stock of onion is being released in states where prices ruled above all-India average and also where prices are rising over the previous month. “Till October 12, a total of 67,357 tonnes have been released in major markets such as Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kochi and Raipur,” it said.

In addition, Grade-B onions (stocks which are below the fair average quality- FAQ) are disposed of in local markets in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, it said. Besides releasing onions in the market, the ministry has offered onions from the buffer at Rs 21 per kg to all states and Union territories for lifting from the storage locations.

This will enable states to take up, by themselves, for market interventions either through direct supply to retail consumers through retail outlets or release in key markets to bring down prices.

The ministry further said the onion stocks are also available for supply to central and state agencies involved in retail marketing either at an ex-storage rate of Rs 21 per kg or landed price after including transportation costs.

Mother Dairy’s retail chain SAFAL has been offered at a landed price of Rs 26 per kg.

The government is maintaining an onion buffer under the price stabilisation fund (PSF) with the objective of effective market intervention to moderate prices.

In 2021-22, about 2.08 lakh tonnes of onion buffer has been created from the 2021 rabi crop from April to July 2021, against the target of two lakh tonnes.

“Similarly, efforts are being made to soften the prices of potato and tomato,” the ministry said.

The average all-India retail price of tomato was ruling at 41.73 per kg, while potato at Rs 21.22 per kg. Whereas, in the wholesale markets, potato prices were ruling at Rs 1,606.46 per quintal, while tomato at Rs 3,361.74 per quintal.

In Delhi, the retail prices of potato and tomato in Delhi were ruling at Rs 20 per kg and Rs 56 per kg, respectively, the ministry said in the statement.

Tea exports down by 14% in first seven months of 2021 owing to US sanctions

Exports of tea from India registered a fall of around 14.4 % in the first seven months of 2021 as compared to the same period last year. Total exports of the beverage during January to July of 2021 was 100.78 million kilograms as against 117.56 million kilograms in the same period of 2020, according to Tea Board data.

Though the CIS block remained the largest importer of tea at 24.14 million kilograms, down from 30.53 million kilograms in the previous similar period.

Though shipments to Iran was substantially down due to the sanctions, the Persian country imported 12.63 million kilograms in the first seven months of this year, as against 21 million kilograms in 2020.

Exports to China were also lower at 3.29 million kilograms from 5.74 million kilograms in the first seven months of 2020.

Offtake by UK was also less during the period, the data showed at 3.12 million kilograms in the current period.

The only exceptions are USA and UAE where exports registered an increase this period of 2021.

Secretary-general of India Tea Association (ITA) Arijit Raha said that this is because exports to Iran, which was once a big buyer of Indian tea, was lower due to the sanctions by the US.

The other prime reason is non-availability of shipping containers which have become very expensive during the COVID times.

The value of tea exports in the first seven months of this year was higher at Rs 2,735 crore as against Rs 2,635 crore in the previous similar period.

UP hikes sugarcane purchase price by Rs 25 per quintal

In a major decision barely months ahead of the upcoming 2022 Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced a Rs 25 per quintal hike in the purchase prices of sugarcane in the state. Addressing a meeting of farmers in Lucknow organised by the BJP’s Kisan Morcha, Adityanath said, “The government has decided that the variety of sugarcane for which Rs 325 per quintal was paid to farmers, that price has been increased to Rs 350, which will be paid to farmers.”

“The government has also decided to increase the price of ordinary sugarcane variety, to Rs 340 (per quintal) up from Rs 315 (per quintal). The government has also decided to the hike the value of the ‘anupyukt’ (less yielding) variety of sugarcane by Rs 25 per quintal.”

Elaborating about the benefits, Adityanath said, “This will enable the sugarcane farmers to increase their income by 8 per cent, and will be a transformation in the lives of 45 lakh farmers.”

He also said that 119 sugarmills will be operated, and they will be linked with ethanol.

Tomato, onion prices rise in Delhi on high fuel rates, crop damages in Karnataka, Maha

The prices of vegetables like tomato and onion have increased in Delhi’s wholesale and retail markets, owing to crop damages in Karnataka and Maharashtra due to heavy rainfall and high fuel rates, vegetable traders said on Tuesday. They said the price rise in the wholesale rates of vegetables was between Rs 10 and Rs 15 per kg; while in the retail market, it was around Rs 15-20 per kg.

Vegetable traders indicated that these consumables may get dearer in the coming weeks if a similar situation continues.

Ramesh Sahu, a vegetable trader in Laxmi Nagar, said there has been a rise in the rates of tomatoes and onions.

“Now, tomato prices are ranging between Rs 50 and Rs 55 per kg, while it earlier used to be at around Rs 40 per kg. Similarly, onion prices have also been hiked and now, it is around Rs 50 per kg which used to be sold earlier at around Rs 35-40 per kg,” Sahu said.

He said that it was because of an increase in wholesale prices.

A vegetable seller in Greater Kailash-1, Monu Paswan, said good-quality tomatoes were being sold at Rs 55-60 per kg while the rates of onion were around Rs 50-55 per kg.

“The rates have increased in past one week because of less supply. We are purchasing vegetables at higher rates in wholesale markets so the ripple effect is seen in retail markets as well,” Paswan said.

S P Gupta, chairman of Ghazipur Wholesale Vegetable and Fruit Market, said wholesale prices of staple vegetables such as onion and tomato have increased by about Rs 10-15 per kg due to the lack of supply of these vegetables.

He said that most of the onion and tomatoes come to the national capital from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.

“Due to heavy rains in Karnataka and Maharashtra, crops of onion and tomato got damaged there. It resulted in a reduction in supply, hence the rates have increased.

“Now, the wholesale price of onion is at around Rs 40 per kg, while the rate of tomato is Rs 900 per crate weighing 25 kg,” Gupta told PTI.

He added that normally, wholesale prices of onion used to be around Rs 20-25 per kg at the Ghazipur mandi. Similarly, the wholesale rates of tomato used to be in the range of Rs 16-Rs 20 per kg which are now Rs 35-36 per kg, he said.

Gupta further said that currently, onion is primarily being supplied in Delhi from Indore.

A wholesale trader in Okhla Mandi, Haji Yamin said the rates of tomato and onion have increased by about Rs 20 per kg.

He said that earlier, the wholesale prices of onion in Okhla Mandi were at around Rs 20 per kg, which has now been doubled.

Another trader at Okhla Mandi, Mohammad Ibrar, said that similar was the situation with tomato as it is now being sold at a wholesale price of Rs 30-40 per kg, while earlier its price was Rs 15-20 per kg.

Traders also said that apart from rains in southern Indian states, the rise in fuel prices was also making vegetables dearer due to enhanced transportation costs.

Yamin said that due to rains in southern Indian states, crops got damaged; so, rates of those items have increased here. But, this is not the sole reason behind this state of affairs.

“Due to increasing rates of fuel prices, especially diesel, the cost of transportation of vegetables have gone up. So, coupled with the shortage in supply, the enhanced transportation cost is now showing its impact by making vegetables dearer in wholesale as well as retail markets,” he said.