Record grain output in 2020; horticulture to grow too

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 28, 2019

New Delhi: India is poised for a record foodgrain production this year following a surge in the output of wheat and rice, the two major crops of rabi or winter sowing season, according to the first estimates released by the National Collateral Management Services (NCML), a leading post-harvest management company.

Horticulture output will also be more, including tomato, potato and onion, according to the government’s first estimate. The output is estimated to go up to 313.35 million tonnes (mt) in 2019-20 from actual output of 310.74 mt last year.

Wheat production in the 2019-20 rabi season is estimated to be 109 mt, 6.27% higher than last year’s output of 102.1 mt, the NCML estimates showed. The output of rice is estimated to go up 5% from last year to around 15 mt. As a result, total foodgrain production is expected to increase 6.19% to 152.7 million tonnes.

However, the NCML has estimated that production of pulses may dip 2% while the output of oilseeds is likely to decline more than 2.6%.

“Bountiful rains during monsoon season have boosted the prospects of crop production in the ensuing rabi season. This year is likely to see a record foodgrain production, led by the wheat crop along with corn and jowar. Oilseeds and pulses may end up lower than in the previous year,” said Siraj Chaudhry, managing director, NCML.

According to a report released by the company on Monday, excess production of wheat and rice will build on the existing surplus and stimulate additional market distortions. “Record domestic supplies will add to procurement and subsidy load. There is an imperative need to align the production basket to consumption needs so demand generating from growing population and changing lifestyles can be met domestically,” it said.


Meanwhile, overall onion production is estimated to increase 7% to 24.45 mt in 2019-20 crop year, in relief to consumers from high prices seen in the past few months. Production of potato is estimated to go up to 51.94 mt this year.

Agri-tech start-ups set to bloom on huge investments

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 23, 2019

Bengaluru: Capital flows into the agri-tech start-up ecosystem are set to remain robust in the year ahead as innovations fuel digitisation of the farm sector with more farmers adopting technology solutions.

The segment is seen attracting interest from large mainstream venture capitalists such as Sequoia and Accel Partners, even as the existing players raise larger funds to invest in agri-tech, which attracted an all-time high investment of around $300 million in 2019.

“Calendar 2019 was the most active year of investing,” said Mark Kahn, Managing Partner of Omnivore Venture Capital, an agri-tech investor in the country since 2011-12.

Omnivore closed seven deals in the Indian agri-tech space in 2019, its highest ever, with investments totalling ₹100 crore.

Kahn estimates total investments in the agri-tech ecosystem to be at $300-350 million as against $73 million in the previous year.

Nasscom, in its report on agri-tech released in November, had estimated investments in Indian agri-tech at $248 million till July, 2019. Increasing smartphone penetration in the rural set-up is aiding technology adoption among the farmers, who are seeking to minimise their costs while trying to maximise their returns.

“The agri-tech space will continue to do well in 2020 as there is increased interest on the part of strategic, generalist venture capital and late-stage funding entities. I think because of that continued inflow and increased interest, the agri-tech sector will continue to bloom even if the overall macro-economic environment isn’t exactly great,” Kahn said. Omnivore had raised its second fund of $97 million (about ₹700 crore) in April 2019 and it will be used for investments in the next three years.

Recently, Ankur Capital, an early stage VC fund that invests in technology focussed start-ups in agri-tech, announced the first close of its second fund of ₹240 crore. Ankur has invested 70 per cent of its ₹50 crore first fund in agri-tech companies.

The sector has also seen the entry of new players such as Sathguru Catalyser Advisors Private Ltd, which has launched an Innovation in Food Agriculture Fund that aims to invest in climate smart agriculture and food chain innovation. Sathguru recently invested in companies such as nu-genes and Ecozen Solutions.

“2019 was an inflexion year in terms of capital flows. It was the best year for agri-tech since the start of the ecosystem,” said Hemendra Mathur, venture partner at Bharat Innovation Fund.

Start-ups operating in areas such as farmer platforms, precision agriculture, agri-biotech, post-harvest technologies will be high on investors’ radar in the year ahead.

Mathur said the farm-to-fork theme, which connects farmers to consumers, eliminating middlemen, attracted investor interest in 2019, with companies such as Ninjacart and Jumbotail receiving funding.

Themes such as Factory-to-Farm, which help farmers access agri inputs directly from producers, will be of interest in the year ahead. Also, themes using data to build predictive models in the areas of price-forecasting, pest attacks and yield estimation, will attract investor interest in the next two years, Mathur said.

West Bengal emerges at the top in vegetable production

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 20, 2019

New Delhi: West Bengal has overtaken Uttar Pradesh and emerged as the top State in vegetable production in 2018-19, the data presented at a recent horticultural meeting showed.

According to the State-wise horticulture production data released at a conference organised by the Agriculture Ministry last week, West Bengal produced 29.55 million tonnes (mt) of vegetables last year against 27.70 mt in the year before. Vegetable production in UP, which held the numero uno position earlier, came down to 27.71 mt in 2018-19 from 28.32 mt the previous year.

Fruits production

Andhra Pradesh continued to hold on to the pole position in fruits with 17.61 mt, followed by Maharashtra (10.82 mt) and UP (10.65 mt). While Andhra Pradesh marginally improved its position, Maharashtra overtook Assam, which occupied the second position in 2017-18. UP, too, moved several notches up from 2017-18 levels to reach the third rank.

West Bengal accounted for 15.9 per cent of the country’s total vegetable production in 2018-19 while UP produced 14.9 per cent. Madhya Pradesh (9.6 per cent), Bihar (9 per cent) and Gujarat (6.8 per cent) were the other major vegetable producers.

The area under vegetable cultivation increased from 6.74 million hectare (mh) in 2004-05 to 10.10 mh in 2018-19 (third advance estimates).

Vegetable production increased from 101.25 mt in 2004-05 to 185.88 tonnes in 2018-19, with an average productivity of 18.4 tonnes per hectare. The major vegetable crops grown in India, which accounts for 11.2 per cent of global vegetable production, are potato, tomato, onion, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, and okra. With a production of 98.58 mt, fruits account for about 31.4 per cent of the total production of horticulture crops in the country. The area under fruit crops cultivation during 2018-19 was 6.65 mh, which is 26.1 per cent of the total area under horticulture cultivation in India.

To double exports, 8 states finalise action plan for agri export policy

Source: Business Standard, Jan 05, 2020

New Delhi: The government on Sunday said eight states, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka, have finalised action plan for agriculture export policy which aims to double such exports.

“The Agri Export Policy was announced last year with an objective of doubling the export and ensuring doubling of farmers’ income…Many states have nominated nodal agency and nodal officer. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab and Karnataka have finalised the State Action Plan and other states are at different stages of finalization of the action plan,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been adopting a focused approach for ensuring greater involvement of the state governments for effective implementation of Agri Export Policy (AEP). Read the rest of this entry »

PM Modi releases Rs 12,000 crore for 6 crore farmers

Source: Financial Express, Jan 03, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday facilitated disbursal of Rs 12,000 crore to 6 crore farmers in one go under the government’s flagship PM-Kisan scheme, taking the total amount transferred to about Rs 42,000 crore so far this fiscal.

The Centre may be able to save about 40% of the budgeted Rs 75,000 crore as the total pay out under the scheme is seen at about Rs 45,000 crore in 2019-20. Without taking any name, Modi slammed West Bengal for not implementing the scheme in the state. He said that such petty politics has done great damage to the farming community.

“I expect that in the new year, those states which are not associated with the Kisan Samman Yojana will at least become a part of it,” the prime minister said at a function in Tumakuru, Karnataka. Read the rest of this entry »

APEDA eyes US$ 60 billion agriculture exports with support of new policy

Source: IBEF.org, Nov 11, 2019

20191113-1With the help of the new agriculture export policy, the agri exports from India is likely to reach the export target of US$ 60 billion by the year 2022, said Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) a statutory body under Ministry of Commerce. The policy has acted as a bridge between Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture helping in to reach the target.

“Achieving an agriculture export target of US$ 60 billion by 2022 does not look ambitious, given the current global market conditions. More so, because India’s export basket largely comprises meat, marine products, and basmati rice whose demand in the world market is on constant increase,” said Mr. Tarun Bajaj, GM, APEDA.

“With an integrated approach and better cooperation among the two union ministries for boosting agriculture production and trade increase export of organic food products as well as to double Agri-exports to US$ 60 billion by 2022 from current $38 billion” said Mr. Bajaj.

APEDA gives a platform to display India’s quality produce to the global market along with promoting the export of various agricultural commodities. Mr. Bajaj added, “After the announcement of Agri Export Policy (AEP) by the government, all the concerned ministries which includes Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Food Processing Industries and other agencies are working in close coordination, they are also focusing on exports. In addition, involving states since they also have an important role in encouraging exports of agriculture products from the region.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Farm exports dips 10.6% in first quarter

Source: The Economic Times, Aug 12, 2019

The farm exports dipped 10.61% in value terms to Rs 28,910 crore in the first quarter of the current financial year. The country had exported agricultural commodities worth Rs 32,341 crore in the same period last year.

According to data from APEDA, the nodal agency for promotion of agri exports, the shipments of basmati rice from Indian shores have shown a slight dip from 1.17 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2018-19 to 1.15 million tonnes during the same period in this fiscal.

“The major drop in exports, however, is in non-basmati rice and pulses which have gone down by around 50%. As against 2.1 million tonnes exports of non-basmati rice in 2018-19, Indian exported 1.2 million tonnes this year. Similarly, the exports of pulses have dipped drastically from 1.01 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 to 45,344 tonnes this year,” said an agriculture department official. Read the rest of this entry »