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Boosting Farmer Incomes Through Allied Activities - NaMo 2.0 Remains Committed

With its commitment to doubling farm income by 2022, the Modi government has been firing on all cylinders to make agriculture a remunerative profession in every sense. Prime Minister Modi brings to the table his detailed sense of the works, as shown by his government’s attention to not just farming but also the allied activities sector Animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, dairy to name a few have received significant attention from this government over the past six years, and movement on the front has accelerated under NaMo 2.0.

Dairy Farming to Boost Income, Indigenous Cattle Breed Preservation for Climate Resilience

Milk production of India has grown by 36.3% when compared to the situation in 2013-14. In absolute terms, dairy production has witnessed a rise by 50 million tonnes (MT), increasing from 137.7 MT in 2013-14 to 187.7 MT in 2018-19. About 54% of milk produced is marketable surplus and remaining 46% is retained in villages for local consumption. Further, dairy cooperatives are increasingly supporting farmers, as seen by the fact that in the past 2 years milk procurement is also growing by about 9% in Cooperative sector. To increase procurement further, which is currently pegged at 36%, the Modi government has intensified the Quality Milk Programme for both cooperative and private sector with fund sharing basis.

Source: Department of Agriculture’s Directorate of Economic Statistics

The focus on dairy farming is also evident when one sees the government approving the revision of interest subvention upwards to 2.5% p.a under the Dairy processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) and revising the outlay to Rs. 11,184 Crore. The scheme, with its multiple objectives of creating milk drying, chilling and processing capacities, targets 95 Lakh milk producers by covering 50,000 villages and doubling milk processing capacity in India from 53.5 Million tonnes to 108 Million tonnes by 2025. This creation of Infrastructure for Value-Added Dairy products is helping to ensure remunerative prices to milk producers. 33 projects have already been sanctioned with a project outlay of Rs. 4,458 crore, and many more are to come.

Cultural sensitivities are also kept in mind while balancing present day requirements in mind. The Rashtriya Gokul Mission, meant to promote conservation of indigenous breeds, is important because productivity of indigenous breeds will be impacted to a much lesser extent than exotic animals due to climate change in addition to several indigenous breeds becoming extremely endangered. As part of the Mission, one National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre each has been set up in North and South India to conserve, preserve and develop indigenous breeds, the results of which can be seen with the slow revival of the Punganur and Ongole cow species in Andhra Pradesh along with providing support to breeding and genetic material storage.

Working Towards Disease Prevention in the Animal Husbandry Sector

Dairy farming is not the only area for which livestock matters. Animal husbandry for the purposes of wool, meat, milk among other products is equally necessary for farmers across different parts of India. This sector too has been receiving significant attention from the government. To this end, NaMo 2.0 decided to tap into the ingenuity of Indian innovators with a Start-Up India challenge on this subject. The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying in partnership with Startup India in September 2019 launched the ‘Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge’, to scout for innovative and commercially viable solutions to address the problems faced by the Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector. The challenge focused on solutions for six problems - value added products; alternatives to single use plastic; eliminating milk adulteration; breed improvement and animal nutrition; e-commerce solutions; and product traceability.

Innovations apart, the focus on solving the key problems faced has not been neglected even marginally. India began under NaMo 2.0 the world’s largest vaccination programme ever to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis, with a budget of Rs. 13,343 crore over the next five-year term. This program aims to vaccinate 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population and 100% bovine female calves to prevent India from losing up to ₹50,000 crore due to preventable animal deaths while significantly boosting the economic output and incomes of farmers, and is utilizing the unique Pashu Aadhar ID issued to 535 million animals (Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, and pig) over the previous term. As part of efforts under this program to help pig farmers, particularly in the North-East, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) recently released the Live attenuated Classical Swine Fever Vaccine technology, which is economical effective.

Chasing the Blue Revolution Dream for India

Budget 2020 saw a conscientious focus on India’s Blue Economy, with a target of ₹1 lakh crore of fisheries’ exports to be achieved by 2024-25 set by the Modi government. To achieve this, 3,477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations were conceptualized and approved, which in turn would involve youth in fisheries extension.

This was not any random dream; rather, the step was a continuum to the ongoing efforts since the previous term of the government. The government’s Blue Revolution scheme for overall development of the fisheries sector in the helped to bring 42,632 hectares of land under aquaculture in both fresh water and saline water areas, and by 2018-19, India exported fish and fisheries products of 13,92,559 Metric tonne valued at Rs. 46,589.37 Crore. The scheme, which helps States/Union Territories for establishing fisheries infrastructure including development of post-harvest infrastructure like ice plants, cold storages, ice plants-cum-cold storages and development of fish landing centre and fishing harbours has proven to be of great use in boosting exports. Moreover, initiatives like the Rs. 20,500 crore Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for a five year period starting 2020-21 in addition to the ongoing Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Fund (FIDF), extension of the Kisan Credit Card scheme to the fisheries sector and other initiatives like technological support through ISRO’s NAVIC systems and fishing area exploration go a long way in boosting India’s fish production to the extent that it is now second in aquaculture production in the world, with production crossing 134 lakh tonnes in 2018-19.

 Source: Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying

An overarching framework that delivers with precision having been set up during the previous term and several initiatives have been launched within the first year of NaMo 2.0. With this, a concerted effort has been unleased that actually harnesses the power of allied activities in boosting farmer incomes, and taking India rapidly towards the goal of doubling of farm incomes by 2022. A holistic, integrated agricultural and allied activity cycle is essential to reach that dream, and NaMo 2.0 has picked up from where it left in NaMo 1.0, continuing its giant strides in turn in the sector.

May 28, 2020