Sunday, 19 July 2020

Area under cultivation doubled in covid era

1 The area under cultivation of different crops in india has gone up doubled from 15.45 million hectares to 31.56 million hectares as above.

2 Further, as per the Food Corporation of India report dated 28.06.2020, FCI currently has 266.29 LMT rice and 550.31 LMT wheat. Hence, a total of 816.60 LMT food grain stock is available (excluding the ongoing purchase of wheat and paddy, which have not yet reached the godown).

3 About 55 LMT food grains is required for a month under NFSA and other welfare schemes.

4 Food grain Procurement:
As on 28.06.2020, total 388.34 LMT wheat (RMS 2020-21) and 745.66 LMT rice (KMS 2019-20) were procured.

The latest ‘All India Crop Situation’ report of the Agriculture Ministry shows a massive increase in planted acreage for various kharif season crops as of June 26, compared with the same time last year.

Crops such as cotton, oilseeds, maize and pulses have shown a remarkable increase in planted area for this time of the year. The planting acreage data, the current year’s numbers appear exceptional and, in some sense, too good to be true.

To be sure, we have had a combination of fortuitous circumstances, including the India Meteorological Department’s forecast of a normal south-west monsoon, timely onset of monsoon over Kerala and its rapid progress so as to cover the whole country two weeks ahead of normal time.

Additionally, the reservoir position has been satisfactory. It is possible, due to reverse migration following the national lockdown announced on March 25, that labour availability in rural India is comfortable, which has accelerated sowing. Cyclones Amphan in the east coast followed by Nisarga in the west coast, too, contributed to soil moisture.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Food and environment sustainability

Nature can neither be ignored, nor outsmarted. Producing food that is both healthy and sustainable demands that we work with–not against–nature.

With farmers having abandoned numerous local plant varieties in favour of genetically-uniform, high yielding ones, 60 per cent of dietary energy is now derived from just three cereal crops: rice, maize and wheat. Consequently, nearly one in three people suffer from some form of malnutrition.  

The situation is expected to worsen due to climate change.

Food is not only a matter of eating. Long before it reaches grocery store shelves, the process of production unleashes a multiplicity of factors affecting the length and quality of life on earth. Forests are cleared to create agricultural space, the atmosphere becomes warmer, diversity is systematically decreased,  buffers that protect humans from animal-borne viruses–like COVID-19–are removed, soil and water is contaminated, and plants and animals are infused with substances with precarious effect.

Many of the practices that were adopted to produce more food have resulted in environmental and health issues. Intensified farming has set into motion a vicious circle, affecting both immediate and long-term food security: expanding agricultural production demands clearing of trees and wildlife; deforestation contributes to climate change; and climate change increases the occurrence of flooding, drought and storms that result in food insecurity.

Pesticides and fertilizers used to boost food production are another concern. Not only do they pollute land and water, causing biodiversity loss; every year, 25 million people suffer from acute pesticide poisoning. Glyphosate–the most widely-used herbicide, worldwide–is associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. 

Nature is essential to agriculture and nutrition.

Nature can neither be ignored, nor outsmarted. Producing food that is both healthy and sustainable demands that we work with–not against–nature.

With farmers having abandoned numerous local plant varieties in favour of genetically-uniform, high yielding ones, 60 per cent of dietary energy is now derived from just three cereal crops: rice, maize and wheat. Consequently, nearly one in three people suffer from some form of malnutrition.  

The situation is expected to worsen due to climate change. 
By recognizing the practical value of nature, a holistic food-system produces simultaneous net gains for the environment, public health and the economy.

Reducing CO2 could positively impact the nutritional value of the food produced–a significant health benefit, given that the vast majority of the world’s population gets most of its nutrition from plants. It could also reduce the risk of extreme weather events, which can lower crop yields. This is particularly important to small scale farmers and is not resilient to economic shocks.  In this way, protecting nature also protects livelihoods and economies.

Restoring biodiversity means strengthening the resilience of food systems, enabling farmers to diversify production and cope with pests, diseases and climate change. It would also reduce the risk of  viruses spillover and their tremendous economic impact, like the one we are currently experiencing.

Adopting plant-based diets would use less land, produce less greenhouse gas, and require less water. It would also play an important role in reducing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer and the associated costs of treatment and lost income. In fact, with a global burden of chronic disease projected to hit 56 per cent by 2050, dietary health will play an increasingly important role in economic management.

We need to consider the entire food system–from production to consumption–understand each of its components, their relationships, and their immediate and long-term impacts.

Agriculture should be recognized as a solution to biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution; and shift toward more regenerative or agroecological models that contribute to healthy landscapes and ecosystems.

Policies should be built on multi-stakeholder collaboration and address the food system holistically, valuing natural capital, promoting sustainable land use, preventing pollution and environmental degradation, and enabling producers the financial opportunity to innovate more sustainable models.

Behaviour change among consumers is also critical, towards healthy and sustainable diets and food waste preventing practices, through education, awareness-raising, strengthened urban-rural linkages and supportive food environments.

Environmental sustainability is not a luxury. It does not occur as an afterthought or as a happy accident. It is critical to human survival, now more than ever,as the current covid 19 endemic is one of the outcome.


Sunday, 7 June 2020

Warehouse management through modern technologies.

Earlier, the warehouse was merely a building where goods would be stored, and it did not have any direct interaction with the customer. Today after the advent of e-commerce,and tougher competition, there has been a drastic transformation in the role of warehousing. It has emerged as a dynamic mechanism playing a crucial role in the order-fulfillment industry. Its entire focus has shifted from just storage to improving customer service through a warehouse management system.

The customer is the King! The warehouse industry now has to comply with all the latest management systems and tactics to keep their customers happy and improving customer service. Even though a customer will never be face to face with a fulfillment center, if he is disgruntled, it could spell doom for both the company and the service provider.

Nowadays, with warehouses are as vast as 100000 square feet, it becomes essential that all the employees stay connected at all times. Many employers are now equipping their employees with smartphones to streamline communications and improving customer service.

However, many recommend the use of radios. Two-way radios offer a quicker and much direct connection to their employees. They’re also more durable, which is vital in heavy-duty warehouse work.

Wearable GPS devices can be worn on the hip or the wrist. They help the user locate warehouse employees’ on-demand, which allows managers and supervisors to properly delegate tasks based on an employee’s proximity to areas or departments in need of help.

Keeping track of inventory on cloud-based software is the best solution for auditing stock and communicating data between two departments. It can help prevent severe backlogging and shortages.

I have available with me a very extraordinary software system known as IBWMS,which is a fully automated,smart and hyper efficient warehouse created with IOT.A complete knowledge is available on real-time data analytics with active event monitoring,and picking and packing through mobile interface with the help of beacons.

Warehouse management system, IBWMS, offers a plethora of tools to collect and analyze all of the warehouse information to see what is working up to mark and what is not. They can give the statistics on  products or individual employees to place things in the most optimal position and speed up the process in fastest manner.

Picking efficiency can be attained by deploying the right picking methodology coupled with the correct technology. The use of wearable and mobile technology can expedite the process by enabling pickers to move across the warehouse freely. At the same time, Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID) tells them with precision the location of the goods. 

The requirement of demand forecasting has been a crucial topic of discussion in the supply chain context, there are three types of forecasting, through algorithms, which are:

Demand forecasting

This elucidates the investigation of the companies’ demand for an item to include current and future demand and product end-use.

Supply forecasting

It describes a collection of data about the producers and suppliers at present, along with technological and political trends that might disrupt supply.

Price forecast

This is the information gathered and analyzed about demand and supply. It provides a concise prediction of short- and long-term prices, trends, and its underlying reasons.

Besides,communication is paramount if the process must place an order from a customer. To avoid miscommunication and reduce expenses, it is highly recommended to offer customers an online portal or a platform through which inventory is seen, select the items they want to ship, and submit the order for processing.

Once the customer places the order, the system will produce a picking list or a loading guide with the items that the customer has selected. It is also recommended that the system provide individual fields for customers to enter detailed instruction if needed, e.g., for re-packaging instructions.
These all magical achievements are possible now through blockchain technology and IBWMS,and all these IOT and AI are available at a very reasonable costs.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Making agricredit system more efficient

Government of India started off the interest-subvention scheme in 2006, whereby crop loans would be given to farmers at 7% interest rate An idea of this diversion of agri-credit to non-agricultural purposes can be had by looking at agri-credit as a percentage of the value of input requirements in agriculture.

Normally, credit off-take in a particular sector is treated as a sign of performance of that sector. Higher the off-take, better performance is likely to be. From that angle, ground level credit (GLC) to agriculture and allied sectors has shown tremendous off-take. For example, in FY19, the banking sector disbursed Rs 12.55 trillion as GLC to agriculture, surpassing the government’s own target of Rs 11 trillion. This should call for celebration, but, unfortunately, growth in agriculture sector hasn’t been commensurate. How does one reconcile this? Let us try to understand and unravel some less known facts about agri-credit in India.

However, during 1990-91 to 1999-2000, AAGR decelerated to 3.2%. But, thereafter, during 2000-01 to 2007-08 it witnessed tremendous growth at 12% only to fall back to just 3.6% during 2008-09 to 2017-18. The massive growth during 2000-01 to 2007-08 appears to be due to innovation in credit instrument in the form of Kisan Credit Card (1998), and policy intervention in the form of Interest Subvention Scheme (2006) that incentivised short-term credit. However, the slowdown after 2008 appears to be due to a loan waiver scheme (2008), which led bankers to be more conservative in lending to farmers for fear of increasing wilful defaults due to expected loan waivers in coming years.

The accompanying graphic presents the state level picture for the triennium average ending (TE) TE 2016-17. The total short-term credit (outstanding) to agriculture and allied sectors as a proportion of input requirements (GVO-GVA) was substantially above 100% for many southern and northern states: Kerala (326%), Andhra Pradesh (254%), Tamil Nadu (245%), Punjab (231%), Telangana (210%) etc (see graphic). This is a clear indication that agri-loans are being diverted to other non-farm purposes. One of the key reasons for this diversion lies in low rates of interest being charged under the interest subvention scheme.

Another interesting feature is that in the total direct credit (outstanding) to agriculture and allied sectors, the share of short-term credit witnessed a significant jump from 44% in 1981-82 to 74.3% in 2015-16 whereas, somewhat disquietingly, that of long-term credit fell from 56.1% in 1981-82 to 25.3% in 2015-16.

Since long-term credit is basically for investments, and capital formation in agriculture, this dramatic fall in the share of long-term credit takes a heavy toll on the improvements in farm productivity, and overall growth of the agri-sector.

It is, therefore, high time to revisit the interest subvention policy, which is leading to these sub-optimal results. Also, for transparency, all crops loans, especially those availing interest subvention, must compulsorily be routed through Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs). Interestingly, it was reported in the latest economic survey that the cumulative number of KCCs issued was 150 million as of March, 2016, but the NAFIS survey, somewhat puzzlingly, reported that only 10% of farmers have used KCCs in the agricultural year 2015-16. This requires deeper research, but, nevertheless, issuance of KCCs in remote villages needs to be expedited.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

MSP help for 2% of Agri produce in India.

e National Agricultural Market(eNAM) and it played the role in marketing of farmers produce in India

As per the Dalwai Committee Report 2017-18 (Volume IV), there are close to 29,547 marketing points. Of these, 22% or 6,615, are regulated markets under the APMC and 22,932 are regional periodical markets (RPMs). On an average, a farmer gets a regulated market in the radius of about 12 km and a RPM in a radius of about 7 kms. Out of these 6,615 markets, the NAM scheme aimed to bring 585 markets (i.e. 9%) on its e-market platform by the end of financial year 2017-18. Quite commendably, as on March 2018, all targeted mandis, i.e., 585 that are in 16 states and 2 UTs, (Chandigarh and Puducherry), have been integrated with the NAM-platform.

But, these 585 mandis brought only 90.5 lakh farmers onto the platform, which is less than 7% of the 14 crore Indian farmers. Close to 17 MMTs of quantity worth Rs 42,265 crore (cumulative since platform’s inception), is reported to have been traded on the platform. But, this value is only about 2% of India’s total value of agricultural output.
Salute to the Government for helping farmers for giving MSP to 2% of Agricultural produce of India.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Comments on article "Bold promises to reform agri-markets missing from BJP, Congress manifestoes"

By: Ashok Gulati | Published: April 15, 2019 4:46 AM

If India achieves a 4-5% growth in agri-GDP on a sustainable basis, it would need to export aggressively lest it creates a glut at home, adversely affecting farmers’ incomes.

Bold promises to reform agri-markets was what was expected from parties’ manifestoes, and while the Congress’s plans lack a fiscal roadmap, theBJP’s is silent altogether.

By Ashok Gulati & Ritika Juneja
The festival of democracy started with the first phase of polling on April 11, 2019. Ideally, it should be celebrated like Holi, forgetting past enmity and embracing each other with love. But, unfortunately, it is being fought like a battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata epic. All weapons of politics—saam, daam, dand, bhed—are being used. Saam reaches for accord with other parties, daam uses money power to buy votes, dand uses CBI to raid camps of opponents, and bhed divides voters on caste/ religious lines. Voters are in a quandary as political parties are promising the moon in their manifestoes. Voters know most of these promises will be forgotten once the elections are over. Yet, one must look at these, since they reflect the best of their intentions. We examine some of these with respect to farmers and the poor, normally agri-labourers. Given that the full list is like a laundry list, we focus only on the big ticket promises.

BJP’s Sankalp Patra (manifesto) promises to double farmers’ income by 2022-23, a reiteration of its promise made in 2016. Under that heading, it lists 29 promises/schemes. The most notable one is the PM Kisan (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana), which will be extended to all farm families. It promises to give each farm family Rs 6,000 per year. With an estimated 14.6 crore farm families as per the 2015-16 survey, this would cost about Rs 87,600 crore per annum. This may be the largest direct income support (DIS) scheme by the government of India (GoI). But, as the NABARD survey on financial inclusion showed, average farmer household income was Rs 8,931 per month in 2015-16, which by now must have crossed Rs 10,000 per month (or Rs 120,000 per annum) in nominal terms, after adjusting for inflation. So, a support of Rs 6,000 per year is a meagre 5% support. Doubling of farmers’ income surely requires much more than this DIS.
The Dalwai Committee set up by the Modi government in 2016 had made it clear that the promise to double farmers’ income was made in real terms with the base year of 2015-16. It calculated that it would need 10.4% growth per annum in real terms from 2016-17 to 2022-23 to double farmers’ real incomes. The past record of growth in real incomes of farmers during 2002-03 to 2015-16 shows that they increased at 3.7% per annum, and this growth follows the growth in agri-GDP very closely. Modi’s government’s five-year record of agri-GDP is pretty low at 2.9% per annum. This means that for the remaining 4 years, the growth in farmers’ real incomes has to be almost 15% per annum. This is next to impossible given the existing set of policies. No wonder the Congress party calls it a Modi government’s jumla.
We feel that if India achieves a 4-5% growth in agri-GDP on a sustainable basis, it would need to export aggressively lest it creates a glut at home which will then adversely impact farmers’ incomes. But the Modi government’s record on agri-exports is most pathetic. From a peak of about $43 billion in agri-exports in 2013-14 that it inherited from UPA-2, till date, its exports have remained below that peak, meaning a negative growth through the five years of the Modi government. This is one major reason behind farm distress.
What one was expecting from the main political parties was bold promises to reform agri-markets. But the BJP manifesto is quite silent on this. In that sense, the Congress manifesto scores better by explicitly promising to reform the Essential Commodities Act, repealing APMC, freeing up exports, etc. How they will do it is yet to be seen, but at least the thinking and its intent is in the right direction. Also, Congress promises Rs 72,000 per year to the bottom 20% of families under its NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) scheme, which may include many small and marginal farmers, tenants, and agri-labourers. It is likely to cost the fisc Rs 3.6 lakh crore, almost four times what PM-Kisan of BJP will cost. Obviously, everyone is asking where this money will come from. That is not spelt out in the manifesto. But since the Congress manifesto also gives a time frame under which it will be implemented, it seems serious about it.
In both cases, it is clear that India is on the road to a major shift in policy towards direct income support (DIS), triggered by Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu and followed by Odisha’s KALIA. This move towards DIS can be a tectonic shift in policy if it subsumes at least the food and fertiliser subsidies and, if possible, the power subsidies at state level. Currently, the food subsidy is Rs 1.84 lakh crore with pending bills of FCI at Rs 1.3 lakh crore as on April 1, 2019. Fertiliser subsidy is Rs 75,000 crore with pending bills of about Rs 30,000 crore. If all these are merged and given as DIS to identified beneficiaries, that would be the wisest move by whichever party comes to power. Incidentally, much of this was recommended to the Modi government way back in 2015 by the Shanta Kumar panel report, a high powered committee set up by the Modi government itself. Maybe it is time to pick it up and implement it.
There are many other promises. BJP, for example, promises zero-interest loans to farmers of up to Rs 1 lakh. The trouble with such schemes is that they lead to a massive diversion of agri-loans to non-agri-purposes. Modi government had made a big move in revamping crop insurance in 2016, but its rollout suffered several teething problems. The test of the existing scheme would be a drought year, but making it voluntary now may shrink its coverage. Then there is a promise of investing massive amounts in agriculture (Rs 25 lakh crore) without much details. Such promises remain vague and meaningless. But who cares, it is time to see the dance of democracy.

Above article says that " if India achieves a 4-5%growth in Agri GDP for doubling farmers income by 2022-23,it would need to export aggressively" is really not a good advise because sustaining a population of 130 billion alone is not a joke.India has always thrieved and sustained good food availability to its mammoth population for the last so many years was only possible because of its conservative food policies to keep sufficient buffer food grain stocks even for the possible drought year.So India has to keep buffe from the surplus/ so called glut only.Otherwise a food war would be possible where the wheat and rice would be sold in not less than 100 Rs kg.
Moreover, does the writer think that the aggressive Agri export will really benefit the farmer?
No the policymakers always do not make calculations by logic as they go only by mathematical calculations.As the profit of the exports will go to middle man only and not to the real farmers. And thus has been the tragedy of India that elimination of the middle man had not been made possible so far in India.
Before we embark upon aggressive export let us first  make the agr trade free within India and facilitate direct sales by the farmers. APMC laws have lived their life. APMC should be a facility provider and not mandatory. This has to be coupled with increase in withholding capacity of farmers by easy short term finance against produce and sufficient warehousing.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Farmers main difficulty not allowing him to become rich

Agriculture in India contributes 17 percent to Rs150 trillion economy,has remained relatively untouched by reforms with growth rates averaging below three percent over as many decades. Lack of technology, inefficient markets and small landholdings combined with insufficient storage and logistics facilities along with the fact that available storage infrastructures are far away from the field farms, have worsened to multiple challenges.

About a quarter Indian farmers live below the official poverty line, while 52 percent of farming households are indebted in spite of guaranteed prices for crop purchases by the federal government on at least three crops -- wheat, rice and cotton.

The agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Indian economy. It fulfils the food and nutrition requirements of 1.3 billion Indians as well as creates employment opportunities for the majority of the population.
A clear indication of growth can be seen in increased investor activity in the Agritech start-up space.  2018 saw a investment in Indian agriculture, which is a 21per cent increase from the previous year. While this demonstrates progression, the sector still struggles behind in certain segments such as storage and supply chain management. With this growing demand, there is a need for agri-entrepreneurs to employ innovative models and solve the problems in this sector such as dissemination of information, farm management, capital availability, farm mechanization, improved cultivars, environment-friendly pesticides and fertilizers and agricultural supply chain. There are various segments lacking development, which open up opportunities for entrepreneurs:

Traditional methods are still used by farmers today, driven by experiences, which are not practical today. With the development and integration of new equipment, practices and types of seeds, these tasks can be handled with much more efficiency. The available data could be utilized and worked on to benefit cultivation across the board.

Lack of correct tools and machines can lead to a lot more damage than anticipated, but it may not be affordable by many farmers. This can be rectified by agro-dealers who can offer rental services of farm machinery. Knowledge of machinery and its appropriate utilization is another invaluable service that should be provided to farmers.

After harvesting of crops, processing, cleaning and packaging must be executed before the crop becomes fit for human consumption. This is a necessary step that cannot be done without the right tools. The profits are greatly amplified by pre post-harvest processing.
Infrastructure: The quality of produce is enhanced with improved transport facilities. It helps create a market for agricultural produce and facilitates interaction among geographical regions. Over 35% of produce is often damaged and rendered wasteful due to lack of proper storage and transportation. Therefore, proper stacking and transportation is a dire necessity of the time.
With the growing demand and advancement in technology, there is a constant need for the development of new methods and seeds in the agricultural industry. This can only be done through research and development. Farmers can access these researches to overcome issues like seed problems, crop sustainability, pests and diseases etc. Research can also ensure the development of quality and environment-friendly agrochemicals.
Every stage in the value chain is important and dependent on one another to function properly and every stage is profitable. With the current challenges and opportunities prevalent in our country, entrepreneurship can provide innovative solutions to solve some of the critical issues in the agricultural sector.
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