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AGRICULTURE

NAFED marks impressive turnaround - records profit, makes part payment
Friday, 27 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) reeling under financial distress and massive debt of its lender banks till recently, has made an impressive turnaround with record profit for the financial year 2017-18. This has enabled the federation to contribute Rs 220 crore as cash payment to its lender banks towards part fulfillment of its one-time settlement amount of Rs 478 crore.

NAFED had signed the debt settlement deed on March 27, 2018, at its headquarter at New Delhi. Central Bank of India was the lead bank, representing all eight lender banks. This journey of NAFED from a period of acute financial crisis, staring at imminent closure to the present when it has reported record profit and wiped out its liabilities to its lender banks as well other high value creditors, has been quite arduous.

Several efforts and schemes were drawn for the financial revival of the federation, whose role is vital for implementation of Price Support Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses and Copra as well regulating the prices of perishables. Finally, the one-time settlement worked out on January 27, 2016, saw the light of the day.

Doubling farmers’ income
Meanwhile, speaking at the National Kharif Conference 2018 here on Wednesday, Union minister of agriculture and farmers’ welfare Radha Mohan Singh stated that the agriculture and food security of the nation would continue to be sustainable in the coming years and India would be successful in doubling farmers’ income in the stipulated time-frame.

Singh asserted that the credit for ensuring the nation’s food security goes to the farmers. Today, India is not only self-dependent but also an exporter of many agricultural products. It is also true that farmers do not get fair value of their produce; therefore an all-round development of the agriculture sector is needed to ensure the stock of food and agriculture product; and enhance farmers’ income. The aim of the government is to make agriculture policy and programmes 'income-oriented' rather than 'production-oriented.'

To achieve this ambitious objective, the government is encouraging the adoption of 'multi-dimensional seven-point' strategy suggested by prime minister, which includes Emphasis on irrigation along with end-to-end solution on creation of resources for ‘more crop per drop'; Provision of quality seeds and nutrients according to the soil quality of each farm; Large investments in warehouses and cold chains to prevent Post-harvest losses; Promotion of value addition through food processing; Implementation of National Agricultural Markets and e-platforms (e-NAM) to eliminate shortcomings of all the 585 centres; To mitigate the risk, introduction of crop insurance scheme at a lower cost; Promotion of allied activities such as Dairy-Animal husbandry, Poultry, Bee-Keeping, Har Medh Per Ped, Horticulture, and Fisheries.

Singh said the need of the hour is full cooperation of state governments so that all efforts of the Central government reach and benefit farmers. The minister appealed to officials from states to properly implement the schemes/missions in their state. Farmers must be encouraged to participate in large numbers in the ongoing Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, in which every block will organise Kisan Kalyan Karyashala on May 2, 2018, in which farmers from that block will participate. Agriculture officers and scientists will discuss ways to increase income through new technology and progressive farmers will also narrate their success stories.

The minister informed that National Bamboo Mission has been announced in Budget 2018-19 for the overall development of bamboo as a supplement of agricultural income. This would help increase the income of farmers. For the development of dairy and fisheries, programmes like National Dairy Plan-1 (NDP-1), National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD), and Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS), and Blue Revolution are being implemented and farmers are taking advantage of it.

The minister further said that the main goal of the government was not only to identify potential areas of agriculture where more investment needs to be made but also to enhance income by diversification into horticulture and animal husbandry and fisheries and suggest ways to reduce risks. In order to achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income, the agriculture ministry has been continuously working to reduce the cost of farming; increase production through better productivity; ensuring profitable returns and risk management given the uncertainty of weather.

To ensure better productivity, schemes such as National Food Security Mission, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm, Rashtriya Gokul Mission, National Livestock Mission, Blue Revolution and so on are being run.

Similarly, to reduce the cost of farming, Soil Health Card, use of neem-coated urea and more crop per drop and so on are being implemented successfully.For a profitable income source, e-NAM, cold storage, storage facility at concessional rate of interest, post-harvest credit facility, increase in base MSP and so on are being emphasised. For adoption of risk management and sustainable practices, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and organic farming mission for north-east are being implemented.
 
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