The Union Budget for 2023-24 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday has portrayed a positive outlook for the agriculture and animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries sectors and the proposals will result in long-term growth that will give greater results in the coming years, industry officials said.
“The Budget has proven to showcase that the future of the agriculture sector in the country is bright, with its well-researched, and nuanced focus towards the sector,” said Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Managing Director, WayCool Foods and Products Ltd, a food and agri-tech platform.
Welcoming Sitharaman’s announcement on the government providing digital public infrastructure for agriculture, enabling an open-source, open-standard, and inter-operable public good encompassing farmer-centric solutions, Jayaraman said the move will improve access to farm inputs for the farmers whilst also boosting market intelligence, thereby, also providing support to agri-tech and start-up growth.
He said the launch of the Agriculture Accelerator Fund will provide ample relief to the industry, in terms of encouraging young entrepreneurs towards the sector while also bringing in innovative and affordable solutions to address the challenges faced by farmers, especially in terms of enhancing profitability and equipping modern technology.
Moreover, disease infestation has been a dire problem affecting 35 per cent of total crop productivity, the Atmanirbhar clean plant programme with a budget allocation of Rs 2,200 crore will offer farmers access to the availability of disease-free, clean planting materials, benefitting crop yield in large numbers, Jayaraman added.
“We are glad to hear a number of farmer-friendly initiatives by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman which undoubtedly will support our agricultural economy and accelerate growth amongst other sectors such as animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries,” said B. Soundararajan, Chairman, Suguna Group.
He said the Agriculture Acceleration Fund would be extremely useful in stimulating agricultural start-ups in rural areas through a collaboration between the farmers, state, and the sector.
“Overall, investment in resources and modern technology in these domains will surely contribute in the formation of long-term growth that will give greater results in the coming years,” Soundararajan said.