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After Middle-East, Bengal to export vegetables to Europe and USA
Sep 20, 2017
After success with export to the Middle East, the Bengal Government has now decided to move ahead and expand the market for its vegetables, to include Europe and USA.
The Food Processing and Horticulture Department had started exporting vegetables to the Middle East, which includes the Gulf countries, in August 2016. There has been a big success with respect to lady’s fingers, beans, chillies and ridge gourds, said All India Trinamool Congress in a release.
The best of these is grown in Bankura district, and that too, organically, that is, without the use of any chemical fertilizers. More areas in the western part of Bengal have been identified for growing vegetables with high potential for export.
Whatever help in the form of irrigation and the requirement of organic fertilizers is required would be provided by the State Government, AITC said.
Every day, about 2.5 tonnes are exported over flights to the Middle East, but even that is not enough to satisfy the demand, such is the quality of the vegetables.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee led party is saying that she is trying her best to get airlines to start direct flights between Bengal and Europe, and when that happens, vegetables would be exported to Europe.
Bengal is soon coming out with a food processing policy, so that definite rules and opportunities are created for people wanting to invest in this high-demand sector. The government is providing subsidies to those investing in the construction of pack-houses and cold storages, which are crucial logistical components for export to be a success.
Rajasthan to set up export promotion council soon
Sep 20, 2017
The state government has announced to set up Rajasthan Export Promotion Council which would facilitate the local exporters to obtain certificate of origin, registration and membership acknowledgements for which they are now going to Delhi, said state industries minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat on the side-lines of the first MSME day being celebrated in the state.
In the absence of the chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who was supposed to make the announcements in the event which was attended by industrialists from the micro, small and enterprises sector, Shekhawat said the chief minister has also taken a decision to create an exports promotion bureau to address the concerns of the exporters. Similarly, under the Bhamashah Rozgar Srijan Yojana, manufacturers will now be given interest subsidy instead of 4% earlier. Shekhawat said the loan limit under the scheme has also been increased to Rs 25 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.
The government is also planning to set up multiple State Facilitation councils having legal experts, arbitrators. This is expected to solve lot of payment disputes. The state government has also finalised the export policy which will be announced soon. We have made certain changes to the draft guidelines. The policy which aims to double the exports from the Current Rs 36,000 crotre to 72,000 crore will be announced in a month or so, added Shekhawat. MSMEs comprise 90% of the state's industry and they are the major job generators. MSMEs are the key to make growth inclusive. When we strive to have growth with a human face, we cannot ignore the MSMEs. This has been the trend world over, be it Japan or China, explain the minister. About 57 industrialists from various sectors were awarded for their stellar work in their respective sectors. Winners were chosen from most of the sectors.
Times of India
ECGC to launch premium policies to retain high-end exporters
Sep 20, 2017
State-owned ECGC Ltd is planning to bring in premium policies for high-end customers, in a bid to prevent top exporters from being lured away by private general insurance companies.
We are thinking to come up with some premium policies for top customers because there is apprehension that this creamy layer will be poached away by private insurers, said Geetha Muralidhar, chairman-cum-managing director, ECGC, formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India.
Private general insurers provide cover to the best exporter and the best buyer, where the risk of default is less. Moreover, they know the multinational buyers because of their physical presence as they are in joint venture partnerships with companies operating in that part of the world, Muralidhar said.
Hence, this has become a challenge for ECGC... Private insurers quote very low rates and get away with it because they cover only the cream business, she added.
The company is also planning to introduce new group policies where an export promotion council or an association would be the master policy holder. Its aim is to benefit the small and medium exporters who cannot regularly do the paperwork, documentation, and the remittance of premium by themselves.
If export associations are able to stand in and be the master policyholder, then many people will be benefited, said Murlidhar.
Currently, there are few takers for such group policies. Only Tirupur Exporters Association has agreed to take up the group policy, and ECGC is working with it closely. The insurance sector regulator, Irdai, has given the company the privilege to try out new products.
Foodgrain output will top last year’s record kharif production
Sep 20, 2017
The total food crops output during the current kharif season will exceed last season’s record production, the government said here on Tuesday.
The cumulative output of foodgrains and oilseeds during kharif 2017 is projected to be 162.40 million tonnes (mt), against 160.92 mt in the previous season, the government told a national conference on agriculture where State officials were present.
The production during the current kharif season is expected to be match last year’s record output, Union Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak told mediapersons on the sidelines of the meeting which set off rabi campaign for the year. While the target for 2017 kharif rice is to be 94.50 mt, marginally less than the 96.39 mt estimated by the fourth advance estimates, the government expected a 13 per cent increase in oilseeds production, even though there was a substantial reduction in the area under oilseeds cultivation.
We expect the area to increase further as farmers would go for crops like castor once the floodwaters recede in Gujarat and Rajasthan, a ministry official said.
Higher targets were also set for coarse cereals. As against 32.71 mt in kharif 2016, the target for this current season is 33.75 mt. However, the government said it expected a drop in pulses output to 8.75 mt as compared to 9.42 mt in the previous season.
Addressing the conference, B Rajender, an agriculture ministry official, said adequate quantities of seeds and fertilisers are available across the country for the upcoming rabi season.
While the seed requirement for wheat for the season is 121.26 lakh quintal, the available stock is about 20 per cent higher, at 149.77 lakh quintal.
A higher seed stock is similarly available for chickpea, the other important rabi crop. As against the requirement of 17.16 lakh quintal, the current seed stock is 19.26 lakh quintal.
Similarly, the government estimated that the season will require 162.35 lakh tonnes of urea, 50.83 lakh tonnes of DAP, 16.70 lakh tonnes of MOP and 50.46 lakh tonnes of NPK complex.
The Hindu Business Line
MoFPI seeks proposals for R&D programme in food processing sub-sectors
Sep 20, 2017
The ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) has sought proposals from institutions for a research and development (R&D) programme in various categories and sub-sectors related to food processing.
According to the ministry, the R&D proposals in the processing sector should look at product and process development, preservation techniques and technologies, packaging, storage and handling, distribution, value addition and standardisation of additives, among other activities.
The guidelines stated that the ministry would support research proposals, preferably of an applied nature with commercial value resulting in the development of innovative products, processes and manufacturing practices, which lead to the development of the food processing industry in India.
MoFPI has invited proposals from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), government institutions, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories, etc.
An official with the ministry said, This is being done with a focus on the enhancement of production, quality, consumer safety, public health and trade of the processed food.
All universities, IITs, Central and state government institutions, government-funded organisations, R&D laboratories and CSIR-recognised R&D units in the private sector can participate in the programme, he added.
SMEs and farmers
The guidelines stated that preference would be given to those R&D project proposals which are beneficial for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and farmers, and are intended towards its commercialisation.
There should be an industrial partner associated with the project. The R&D projects would be carried out in collaboration with the industrial partner, who will take up or commercialise the outcome of the project, they added.
However, this condition of having an industry partner in the project, may not be applicable, if MoFPI chooses to direct the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur, the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Sonepat, or any other public body to undertake a specific research in public interest, the guidelines added.
The grants include lump sum provision upto Rs 1 lakh for travel allowance (TA) and daily allowance (DA) for project-related travel, including survey, data/sample collection, etc. and institutional charges equal to 10 per cent of the project cost, subject to a maximum of Rs 3 lakh for non-academic institutions and Rs 5 lakh for academic institutions.
Arpita Mukherjee, professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER),said, We did a survey-based study and found that the level of R&D in the Indian food processing sector is low.
This is because a majority of the players are in the unorganised sector and their scale of operation is small, she added.
For example, in packaging India needs technologies, such as freeze-thaw technology, deep-freeze technology and vacuum packaging, among others, Mukherjee said.
FM discusses possible stimulus package to revive economic growth
Sep 20, 2017
A high-level meeting chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley got underway here on Tuesday evening to review the economic situation and discuss measures, including a possible stimulus package, to be taken amidst an economic slowdown.
The meeting is being attended by, among others, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry -- Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.
Originally, the review was to take place with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's participation.
The meeting follows a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production, as well as a widening current account deficit.
The government is said to be considering to provide some financial stimulus to the economy in the wake of slowing growth post demonetisation, troubled transition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and tepid private investment.
Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Modi took power in May 2014.
The meeting is also expected to discuss the inflationary pressures and reasons for the low manufacturing growth of 1.2 per cent in July.
Reports have said the government was considering measures, both in the short and medium term, which are likely to be presented in the Union Budget 2018-19 to boost exports, create jobs and narrow the trade deficit.
There is also concern that the recent spurt in fuel prices, particularly of diesel, would have an adverse impact on farmers and the agricultural sector.
MP farmers shift from soybean to urad for better prospects, productivity
Sep 20, 2017
The area sown under soyabean in Madhya Pradesh, the leader in soyabean production has fallen from the five-year average of 5.8 million hectares to five million hectares in the kharif (summer) season of 2017.
At the same time, the area under urad bean (black gram) has risen to 1.8 million hectares, as against the average of 850,000 hectares in the state.
The area under urad bean has been the highest nationwide also, at 4.21 million hectares (as of September 6). It clocked record productivity in Madhya Pradesh in the 2016 cropping season, when it doubled to 906 kg per hectare (the national average being 645 kg a hectare). The productivity of soyabean was poor in 2013 and 2015 and fell below 900 kg a hectare. It was above 1,300 in 2012 and even in 2016.
In some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, where there is light soil, soyabean has been damaged due to moisture stress, which may affect the overall productivity adversely in these areas, the Kharif Season Survey Report of 2017, prepared by the Soyabean Processors Association of India, says.
The data show, and experts cite, three key reasons for this preference for urad this year.
Urad can do with less water than soyabean, and is less susceptible to pest and insect attacks.The second factor has been the deficient monsoon. Due to a weak initial monsoon, the natural slot for sowing soyabean or arhar (pigeon pea) was missed, leaving urad the only viable option for the dry regions in Madhya Pradesh, Sanjeev Gupta, project coordinator at the Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur, told Business Standard.
The third factor, and the one with the most far-reaching implications is the price fetched by the crop. While soyabean prices have stagnated in APMC (agriculture produce marketing committee) mandis, prices at non-APMC mandis and the government’s minimum support price were a strong incentive for farmers.
But in the past one year prices of both soyabean and urad fell but soyabean remained in a narrow range and the higher productivity of urad, which means low cost of production, seems to have saved the day for farmers who shifted from soya bean.
India's cotton regions forecast to get much needed rain
Sep 20, 2017
Key cotton producing regions in central India are set for a recovery in rainfall levels, the country's weather office chief told Reuters on Tuesday, easing concerns for farmers who are betting on the fibre amid rising demand.
Overall rainfall in the country since June 1 is 6 percent below the long-term average, according to data on the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) website.
India's weather office said in June it expected monsoon rains, which deliver about three-quarters of India's annual rainfall, to reach 98 percent of the long-term average this year.
The monsoon, which stretches from June to September, is critical for India's 260 million farmers because about half of their land lacks irrigation. Farming accounts for 15 percent of India's $2 trillion economy and employs more than half of its 1.3 billion people.
The total area cultivated during summer was largely flat from a year ago at about 105 million hectares at the end of last week, according to farm ministry data, with cotton planting growing at the fastest pace as oilseeds and pulses planting slowed.
However, cotton producing regions in the under-irrigated states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have received below average rainfall, posing a threat to farmers who have increased planting of the fibre on the back of a surge in demand.
K.J.Ramesh, chief of the IMD, told Reuters this was set to change.
There have already been signs of recovery, Ramesh said, adding Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh would see a significant surge in rainfall.
Though rainfall in the drought-prone cotton producing regions of Vidarbha and Eastern Madhya Pradesh in central India is still below average, the degree of rainfall deficiency has come down this week.
The Economic Times
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