April 25, 2020
Government has undertaken many progressive reforms and shall continue to do so to uplift the Indian farmers and the agriculture sector from the grip of Covid-19 stress, Shri Rajesh Verma, Special Secretary, Department of Agriculture Corporation & Farmer Welfare, Government of India.
Shri Rajesh Verma, Special Secretary, Department of Agriculture Corporation & Farmer Welfare, Government of India, i nformed that the government has taken pro-active and progressive steps to boost the morale of the agriculture sector, especially the farmers, and relieved them from the grip of the stress created due to Covid-19. We shall continue to support and undertake reform measures to support the farmers and the agriculture sector, equally, said Shri Verma.
The Special Secretary and his team, noted all the issues and challenges faced by the industry stakeholders and assured a quick and effective resolution of the same by the Ministry. He also mentioned that many reforms were underway and a solution to many of the issues will be provided by early next week, including clearance of a significant number of pending applications, said Shri Verma.
Shri Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, thanked Shri Rajesh Verma, Special Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture for agreeing to hold this video Conference on the very pertinent subject of “Addressing issues of AGRICULTURE VALUE CHAIN” – seeds , fertilizers, crop protection , logistics and supply chain during COVID-19.
We appreciate the efforts and the proactive initiatives taken by Ministry under the captainship of Shri Narendra Singh Tomar ji, Hon’ble Minister and his team, and particularly like to mention the launch of the Krishi Rath App, Agri transport Call Centre, enlisting of essential commodities and many more to address the issues of Agriculture sector in this pandemic situation created by COVID-19, however our industry members are facing on ground issues related to operations and production, that need your attention and support , said Mr Multani.
SHri N K Aggarwal, Chair , Agriculture Committee PHD Chamber, said that Kharif sowing takes place by first week of June and highlighted areas which need urgent review to ensure that farmers can get the agri inputs in time.
The manufacturing units that are allowed to open by district administrations are working at 30-40 per cent capacity and there is a high possibility that the demand for agri inputs by these operational units may not be fulfilled in time, due to shortage of trucks, loaders, unloaders, and there are interstate and inter district movement hindrances as well.
Because of social distancing and restriction on retail shops, the in time last mile delivery of inputs is doubtful, in such a case retailers should be allowed to open shops for increased hours and their licenses modified to allow them to do home delivery to farmers, said MR Aggarwal.
Some manufacturing plants get closed if there is a hotspot identified in the neighborhood. Closure at this critical time will result in shortfall in supplies for farmers. These should be allowed to re-open with all due precautions of personal safety and hygiene and with close monitoring, urged Mr Aggarwal.
There is also a proposal for imposition of 15% COVID duty on import of chemicals which should be opposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, as being the user industry, any restrictions on imports will again adversely impact the availability of inputs to farmers. This may be deferred by a few months to provide the the much needed support to the agriculture sector, said Mr Aggarwal.
The interactive session was attended and addressed by the Joint Secretaries of the relevant and respective divisions. Many industry stalwarts and senior members of PHD Chamber raised the issues and concerns faced by them in the interaction with the Special Secretary.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry