To enable farmers realise the value of agriculture, there is a need to focus on post Harvest management such as agri logistics, processing and marketing, said Dr Ashok Dalwai, Chairman, Committee on Doubling of Farmers' Income and Chief Executive Officer, National Rainfed Area Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. He was speaking at the session on ‘Packaging to unpack Agriculture Value’ at the CII Annual Session 2019.
He added that to expand markets, there is need to link agriculture to industry, both agro and non-agro, and make it a sustainable economic activity.
Prof CSC Sekhar, Professor, Head, Agricultural Research Economic Unit (AERU), Institute of Economic Growth mentioned that there is a realisation for the need to reduce the number of people engaged in agriculture production. For this to happen, structural changes must be introduced such as the land tenancy laws. It is important to ensure quality food delivery to consumers and skill upgradation of the diverted human resources from the sector, he added.
Technology has a pivotal role to play as we move towards data driven agriculture, noted Mr Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, Founder & CEO, AgNext Technologies.
The biggest challenge is to find a way which ensures that farmers get at least 50% of the ultimate retail price of products, thereby making India the food basket of the world, observed Mr Ajay S Shriram, Past President, CII and Chairman & Senior Managing Director, DCM Shriram Ltd.
Mr Suresh Narayanan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing and Chairman & Managing Director, Nestle India Ltd highlighted the key elements that policymakers need to focus on to increase the processing level from the current 10%. These include building the right ecosystem, infrastructure, food processing, and demand for quality and nutritious food.
Ms Vinita Bali, Chairperson, CII National Committee on Nutrition mentioned that the first priority should be to stop wastage of produce. She said staple food fortification has the potential to tackle the challenge of macro and micro nutrient deficiencies in India. CII National Committee on Nutrition is actively working on this area.
Mr Salil Singhal, Chairman, CII Agriculture Council, Chairman & Managing Director, PI Industries Ltd suggested setting up of National Agriculture Council for deliberations to bring forth different structural changes that the Indian agriculture sector needs. He also highlighted the need for digitisation of land and agriculture resources for informed decision-making.
4 April 2019