Union Budget 2022: FM Sitharaman announces support for Agritech startups, Natural farming, Push for ‘Kisan Drones’

Presenting her fourth Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman today announced the support to the agriculture sector. According to FM, the government will facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD to finance Indian agritech startups and rural enterprises relevant to farming.

The agritech startups and rural enterprises will be engaged in public-private partnerships to deliver the latest technology education to farmers and aid in implementation, FM said. The activities of these startups will include inter-area support for farmer-producer organizations (FPOs), machinery for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level, and technology including invitee base, she added.

Secondly, The government will be focusing on promoting the use of ‘Kisan Drones’ for crop assessments, digitization of land records, and spraying of insecticides and nutrients.

The FM further said the government will also promote chemical-free natural farming throughout the country with a focus on farmers’ lands in five-kilometer wide corridors along the longer river Ganga in the first stage.

The government will launch a scheme of PPP mode with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agritech players and stakeholders of agri value chains. This will help in the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers.

States will be encouraged to revise syllabi of agricultural universities to meet the needs of natural zero budget and organic farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition, and management, she added.

Notably, the FM said the government’s procurement of wheat and paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) during 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh tonnes from 163 lakh farmers. “Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be the direct payment of MSP value to their accounts,” she said.

The government will support post-harvest support for enhancing domestic consumption of millet products internationally, She said during the Budget announcement.

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