In few weeks’ time, Centre will harmonize the suggestions received from industry associations including PHD Chamber for the Contract Farming Act and consequently push for its enactment with thorough follow ups with all States and Union Territories as the proposed Act would be an ideal way forward to monetize agriculture and horticulture wastages that are substantially higher under prevailing system.
Dr. Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare was present at the National Conference on Cold Chain Infrastructure organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi. Dr. Dalwai informed that the proposed Contract Farming Bill has already been placed in public domain to improve it with suggestions from the industry and other stakeholders. The experts in the department of agriculture would be able to harmonize them in next few weeks.
Thereafter, not only the Ministry of Agriculture but also the PMO would push hard for its timely enactment with States and UTs so that farmers’ incomes are enhanced with public and private participation as these stakeholders will bring in new technologies and advanced methodologies for improved agriculture which could lead to better monetising farmers’ income with consumers receiving farm produced at much cheaper and competitive rates, he added.
Chief Advisor & CEO, National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD) Pawanexh Kohli said, “Even serious efforts have already been intensified by the Centre including PMO to push for bringing in reforms replacing Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) with new model known as Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 which is likely to bear fruit in next one year and so since agriculture and marketing are both state subjects.” Farmers produce could fetch them lucrative pricing provided cold chains are integrated through superior marketing logistics as it is the only way out through which better pricing could be ensured for those that are involved in Indian agriculture and horticulture.
There are several issues in this industry that need to be addressed and solved. The deficiency in the farm-gate packhouses is evident. The consumers are ready-to-buy agricultural produce on premium prices. But, the industry has the challenge to maintain quality of the produce till it reaches to consumers. Also there is a need to create the warehousing, cold chain and food processing infrastructure where the surplus farm commodity can be stored and can be supplied throughout the year.
About two billion population of the world buy frozen food. In next 10 years, one billion more people are going to add this number. Thus, in front of the food and cold chain industry, the opportunity lies here. If Indian economy is growing at 6 per cent in next five years, 40 per cent of India’s population will be middle class who prefer to buy ready to eat food. This is the biggest opportunity where the industry can invest.