Agriculture And Rural Development Current Affair 2020

Agriculture And Rural Development

Agriculture And Rural Development

# FSSAI launches ‘Verified Milk Vendor Scheme’ in Gujarat

• Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched ‘Verified Milk Vendors Scheme’ in Gujarat with an aim to cover milk producers and milk vendors under the regulation net.

• It is the first of its kind scheme for India to bring the unorganised milk suppliers or vendors under the monitoring through a verification programme.

• Under the scheme, all the unorganised milk producers and vendors in Gujarat will be issued identity cards by taking their registration.

• The cooperative dairies and registered private dairies are already covered under the Food Safety and Standards Act, whereas the small vendors and producers often go unchecked.

• Gujarat is estimated to have about 40 lakh milk producers and vendors who will be given these identity cards.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# First Farmers Science Congress Session held

• Recently, the Farmers Science congress was conducted for the first time in 107-year history of the Indian Science Congress.

• The event highlighted importance of innovational practices in agriculture.

• The Farmer Science Congress was held under 3 different themes-

1. Farmers innovation on integrated agriculture and entrepreneurship to double farmers’ income

2. Climate change, bio-diversity, conservation.

3. Agrarian distress, Farmers empowerment and rural bio-entrepreneurship.

#KVIC opened first silk processing plant in Gujarat to boost production of signature Patola Saree

• Recently, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) inaugurated a first Silk Processing Plant at Surendranagar in Gujarat.

• It would help cut down the cost of production of silk yarn drastically and increase the sale and availability of raw material for Gujarati Patola Sarees locally.

• The plant has been set up by a khadi institution at a cost of Rs 75 lac in which KVIC has contributed Rs 60 lakh.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Kochi to host global meet on marine ecosystem

• Recently, 3rd international symposium on marine ecosystems – challenges and opportunities (MECOS-3) was organised in Kochi.

• It was organised by the Marine Biological Association of India.

• MECOS-3 serve as a platform for discussions on a range of topics, including the impact of the climate crisis on marine ecosystems and an unusual warming of the Arabian Sea.

# 800 FPOs registered on Farmer Connect Portal of APEDA

• In order to achieve the objective of doubling the export and ensuring doubling of farmers’ income, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been adopting a focused approach for ensuring greater involvement of the State governments for effective implementation of Agri Export Policy (AEP).

• APEDA has organised a number of seminars and meetings for the implementation of Agri Export Policy throughout the year.

• Also, a MoU was signed with National Cooperative Development Corporation to include Co-operatives for their active role in AEP.

• A Farmer Connect Portal has also been set up by APEDA on its website for providing a platform for Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) to interact with exporters. Over 800 FPOs have been registered on the portal.

• State level Monitoring Committees have been formed in many of the States.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Ladakh hosts first ever Food Processing Summit to attract investors

• Recently, Union Territory Ladakh hosted the first ever Food Processing Summit to attract investors to the region.

• The event is aimed at encouraging the entrepreneurs to begin a StartUp to tap the potential in the Food Processing Industries in Ladakh.

# “APNA UREA – Sona Ugle” brand of HURL launched

• Recently, Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda launched the APNA UREA – Sona Ugle brand of Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Limited (HURL).

• HURL is Joint Venture Company promoted by the three Maha Ratna Companies – Coal India Limited, NTPC Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

# BIRAC Announces 16th Call for Proposals under ‘Biotechnology Ignition Grant’ BIG Scheme

• Recently, Applications have been invited for BIRAC’s Biotechnology Ignition Grant, popularly known as BIG scheme in Agri & Agri-Biotech sector. Applications are open for Grant in aid up to Rs. 50 lakh from 1st January 2020 till 15th February 2020.

About BIG Scheme

• BIG is flagship programme of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) that provides the right admixture of fuel & support to young startups as well as entrepreneurial individuals.

• It is also the largest early stage biotech funding programme in the country.

• It provides funding grant of up to INR 5 Million (USD 70,000 approx) to the best in class innovative ideas to build & refine idea to proof-of-concept.

Who can apply for Grant-in-aid?
• Entrepreneurs
• Startups
• Researchers
• Scientists
• Students
• Individual having innovative ideas/POC/prototype


• Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council is a Section 8 ‘Not-for-Profit Company’ of the Government of India.

• It has been established as DBT’s interface agency to serve as a single window for rising biotech companies.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# India’s Farm Sector Growth May Reach 3.1 percent in Current Fiscal: NITI Aayog

• Recently, 2nd National Conference on “Food Value Chain Partnerships: End to End Approach” was held at New Delhi.

• It was jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) and MOFPI (Ministry of Food Processing Industries).

• The conference was attended by around 200 delegates and Agri-professionals and highlighted the importance of the food value chain for sustainable development of the Indian agriculture scenario.


• India’s farm sector growth for the current fiscal is expected to remain higher at 3.1% compared to 2.9% in FY19.

# NABARD boost for primary schools, rural health set-up in Andhra Pradesh

• Recently, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned ₹1,048 crore for renovation of primary schools and hospitals in the State.

• The loan has been given under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

• Purpose of loan: For improvement of infrastructure in 615 primary schools (Mana Badi-Naadu Nedu Schemes) and rural public health institutions, including primary health centres and community health centres.

• Of the 615 schools, 250 are in six Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected districts — Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, East Godavari, West Godavari and Guntur.

• The aim is to bring about a qualitative change in terms of infrastructure and amenities in government schools.

• The proposal is also in line with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to ensure good health and well-being of citizens.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# First-ever Exposure-cum-Training Tour on Organic Farming outside UT of Ladakh flagged off

• Recently, the Exposure-cum-Training Tour on Organic Farming from Ladakh to Uttarakhand has been flagged off by the Executive Councillor for Agriculture and Environment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh.

• This is the first-ever exposure tour outside Union Territory of Ladakh under MODI (Mission Organic Development Initiative) programme.

# 186 Agri products testing laboratories set up by APEDA

• Recently, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has added 135 laboratories to existing 51 recognized laboratories.

• With this initiative APEDA recognition of laboratories has reached 186 laboratories across the country.

• The number of laboratories have increased in states with exporting potential like Maharashtra (35), Gujarat (23), Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (10), Tamil Nadu (23) and Karnataka (17).

• For increasing the laboratory network further, APEDA has taken a policy decision for simplification of APEDA recognition of laboratories.

• It has been decided that the laboratories which are NABL accredited will be recognized by APEDA and same will be added in the network of APEDA recognition laboratories.

• This will enable APEDA to continuously expand its recognition network of laboratories across the country and will enable the exporters to have an easy access to the laboratories for testing of APEDA scheduled products for exports.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# West Bengal emerges at the top in vegetable production

• According to the State-wise horticulture production data, West Bengal has overtaken Uttar Pradesh and emerged as the top State in vegetable production in 2018-19.

• It produced 29.55 million tonnes (MT) of vegetables in 2018-19 against 27.70 MT in the year 2017-18.

• Vegetable production in UP, which held the top position earlier, came down to 27.71 MT in 2018-19 from 28.32 MT the previous year.

Fruits Production

• Andhra Pradesh continued to hold on to the top position in fruits with 17.61 MT, followed by Maharashtra (10.82 MT) and UP (10.65 MT).

• With a production of 98.58 MT, fruits account for about 31.4% of the total production of horticulture crops in the country.

• The area under fruit crops cultivation during 2018-19 was 6.65 mh, which is 26.1% of the total area under horticulture cultivation in India. 1.14 Foundation stone laid for two Integrated Processing Units of Sikkim IFFCO

• The foundation stone of two Integrated Processing Units of Sikkim Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Organics Limited (SIFFCO) has been laid.

• Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited is a joint venture between IFFCO and Government of Sikkim.

• Its aim – To promote and market the organic produce of the country and especially from Sikkim and other north-eastern states of India.

# 29th AIPAA Annual Meet held at Amity University

• Recently, the 29th All India Alumni Annual Meet of G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, also known as Pantnagar University concluded at Amity University Campus, Delhi.

• First agricultural university of India which was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru on 17 November 1960 as the “Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University” also participated in the event.


• All India Pantnagar Alumni Association is a society of alumnus. It was registered in 1991.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# To double exports, 8 states finalise action plan for Agri Export Policy

• The Central Government has announced that eight states have finalised an action plan for Agriculture Export policy, which aims to double such exports.

• Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab and Karnataka have finalised the State Action Plan and other states are at different stages of finalization of the action plan.

About Agri Export Policy 2018

• The Agri Export Policy was announced in the year 2018 with an objective of doubling the export and ensuring doubling of farmers’ income.

Features of Agri Export Policy 2018


• To double agricultural exports from present ~US$ 30+ Billion to ~US$ 60+ Billion by 2022 and reach US$ 100 Billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime.

• To diversify our export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports including focus on perishables.

• To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.

• To provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

• To strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest.

• To enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.

Policy recommendations

In this Report, these are organized in two broad categories – strategic and operational.

1. Strategic

Policy Measures – Discussions with public and private stakeholders across the agricultural value chain highlighted certain structural changes that were required to boost agricultural exports.

• Infrastructure and logistics – Presence of robust infrastructure is critical component of a strong agricultural value chain. This involves pre-harvest and post-harvest handling facilities, storage & distribution, processing facilities, roads and world class exit point infrastructure at ports facilitating swift trade.

• Holistic approach to boost exports – Agricultural exports are determined by supply side factors, food security, processing facilities, infrastructure bottlenecks and several regulations. This involves multiple ministries and state departments.

• Greater involvement of State Governments in Agriculture Exports.

2. Operational Recommendations

Focus on Clusters : There is a need to evolve and put in place institutional mechanism for effective involvement and engagement of small and medium farmers for entire value chain as group enterprise(s) within cluster of villages at the block level for select produce(s).

• Promoting value added exports

• Product development for indigenous commodities and value addition

• Promote value added organic exports

• Promotion of R&D activities for new product Development for the upcoming markets

• Skill development

• Marketing and promotion of “Brand India”

• Attract private investments in export oriented activities and infrastructure

• Establishment of Strong Quality Regimen

Research and Development – Agricultural research and development (R&D) led by private industry along with higher infrastructure spend by the government will be the key to boosting agricultural exports

Creation of Agri-start-up fund – Entrepreneurs are to be supported to start a new venture in Agri products exports during their initial period of establishment.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Agri Product Clusters Set Up in 8 States

• Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been adopting a focused approach for ensuring greater involvement of the state governments for effective implementation of Agri Export Policy (AEP) 2018.

• Throughout the year APEDA held a series of meetings with state government officials and other stakeholders for preparation of state action plan.

• Many states have nominated nodal agency and nodal officer.

• State level Monitoring Committees have been formed in many of the States.

More about the Clusters

• Cluster visits have been made by APEDA Nodal officers to the product clusters at:
1. Jalandhar (Potato)
2. Jodhpur (Isabgol)
3. Banaskantha (Dairy products)
4. Sangli (Grapes)
5. Solapur (Pomegranate)
6. Nagpur (Orange)
7. Chittoor (Mango)
8. Theni (Banana)
9. Salem (Poultry products)
10. Indore (Onion)
11. Chikkaballapur (Rose onion)

• The roadmap for cluster development in the clusters notified under AEP was prepared to address the identified interventions during the cluster visits.

• As a result of cluster visits by APEDA, the cluster level committee has been constituted in the States- Potato in Punjab, Isabgol in Rajasthan, Pomegranate, Orange and Grapes in Maharashtra and Banana in Tamil Nadu.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Indian Council of Agricultural Research to Launch ‘Farmers Innovation Fund’ in 2020-21

• Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra has recently announced that Indian Council of Agricultural Research is going to launch a ‘Farmers Innovation Fund’ (FIF), which will begin operating in fiscal 2020-21.

• This has been announced during the first ever Farmers’ Science Congress, which has taken place as an initiative under 107th Indian Science Congress.

• As part of it, an innovation centre will be established in New Delhi where the innovations will be scientifically validated, he explained.

• Farmers will also be allowed to pursue research under the system.

107th Indian Science Congress

• It is India’s largest annual gathering of scientific luminaries from countries across the world.

• 10th edition of the same will be held from January 3 to 7, 2020 at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka.

• The event would be focused on ‘Science & Technology: Rural Development’.

# NBHC Releases Final Kharif Crop Estimates for 2019-20

• National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) has come out with kharif crop estimates for the year 2018-19.

Findings of the Estimate

• For the year 2019-20, rice production has expected to decline marginally by 8.21% over last year and decline marginally by 3.19% over last estimate.

• Maize is expected to decline significantly by about 11.86% over last year and 8.97% over last estimate.

• In the minor cereals, Jowar is expected to improve by 1.07% over last year while Bajra is expected to decline by 1.98% over last year.


• As per NBHC assessment, sowing of rice and pulses cultivation has been most hit in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

• The real deterrent for the kharif crop were post monsoon rains – 32% excess.

• The maximum impact was felt in Northwest region (121% excess) and the central India region (64% excess).

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

#Government announces 75% subsidy on Agricultural Equipments

• Recently Bihar Government has announced a 75% subsidy on all major Agricultural equipment for the farmers through which they can earn more yield than before.

• The amount of subsidy on seed drill has been increased by 5 percent more and the remaining four agricultural types of equipment will get 75 percent subsidy.

• SC, ST or other backward class farmers will be given a 5 percent increase in the amount of subsidy.

How much amount of Subsidy will be given?

• As per reports, farmers will be given a maximum subsidy of 25,000 Rs. on Seed Drill.

• Farmers will get the benefit of Rs. 80 thousand to 1.75 million rupees on agricultural equipment that have a subsidy of 75 percent.

• Apart from this, a maximum of Rs. 82000 will be given on harvester torches and Rs. 1 lakh 57 thousand will be offered on 8 feet super seeders.

• Moreover, the government announces Rs. 1.5 lakh on 7 feet machine and up to 1 lakh 42000 rupees on 6 feet machines to the farmers.

#HDFC Bank Launches ‘Har Gaon Hamara’ IVR Toll-free Number for Farmers & Agriculturists

• HDFC Bank has recently announced the launch of an initiative for farmers called ‘Har Gaon Hamara’.

• The initiative provides an Interactive Voice Response IVR toll-free number (1800 120 9655) for farmers and agriculturists in the rural hinterland of the country to access financial services.

• The IVR toll-free service will let the farmers and agriculturists connect to the bank, by just dialing the number and sharing Pincode number.

• A representative from the nearest branch will automatically reach out to the farmer to address his / her needs.

Objective of the Initiative

• The main objective of this initiative is to reach the interiors of Rural India and create awareness of various financial, digital products and social security schemes in line with the government’s vision for financial inclusion.


• HDFC Bank had received the award last year for its remarkable contribution towards Rural India at the ’16th Inclusive Finance Summit’.

• The bank received this award in recognition of the Bank’s lending to the Priority Sector.

• It catered to the crop production-related credit requirements of the farmers, and innovation in rural lending products and processes.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Governor of Telangana Inaugurates 110th FOCARs at ICAR-NAARM

• Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, has inaugurated the “110th Foundation Course for Agricultural Research Service (FOCARs)”.

• This has been inaugurated at the ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad.

FOCARS (Foundation Course for Agricultural Research Services)

• The FOCARS is designed for the newly recruited entry-level scientists to the Agricultural Research Service of the ICAR.

• The course aims at providing exposure to the trainees on the concepts and principles of project management with special emphasis on project formulation and implementation.

• It also includes capsules in related areas on human resources development, and information and communication management.

# Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Introduces Kisan Pragati Card for Farmers

• Ujjivan Small Finance Bank has launched Kisan Pragati Card (KPC) to help farmers meet their credit requirements.

• The Kisan Pragati Card has been introduced with a specific focus on small & marginal farmers to finance their needs such as crop production, pre and post-harvest requirements, working capital for maintenance of farm assets & plain consumption expenses.

• The facility will also give a coverage of Personal Accident Insurance Scheme (PAIS).

Benefits of Kisan Pragati Card

• Kisan Pragati Card provides a credit limit of up to Rs 10 lakhs for five years with a yearly renewal option.

• It also offers a term loan up to Rs 10 lakhs with a tenure ranging between 1 & 5 years.

• There will be zero processing fees for loans up to Rs 3 lakhs

• Under the loan options, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank provides Kisan Unnati Emergency Loyalty to meet different financial needs of the farmers.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Bajaj Allianz General Insurance launches ‘Farmitra’ mobile app for farmers

• Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has rolled out a mobile app called ‘Farmitra’ to cater to the specific needs of farmers.

• The farmers will be able to get insurance solutions, and a range of other information and advisories to cater to their day-to-day farming needs, through this app.

Benefits of the App

• Farmers will be able to access the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal to buy crop insurance and also buy motor and health insurance policies offered by the company.

• Users of this app can see regular weather forecasts specific to their area, advisories customised in line with the selected crops, market price of crops, news related to agriculture developments and also a locator for seed/ soil testing labs, fertiliser dealers, and cold storage around the area.

• Users of the app will be able to access these advisories free of cost.

• The application is currently live in six states, namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Haryana.

# THE PULSES CONCLAVE to be held in February 2020

• India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has announced that the 5th edition of THE PULSES CONCLAVE is going to take place in the month of February 2020.

• Venue – Lonavala, Maharashtra.

• Organized by – India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India’s pulses trade and industry.

More about the Conference

• This is a biennial global pulses conference.

• The Pulses Conclave 2020 will discuss increasing domestic production and consumption.

• It will also bring to fore other areas of the trade like Improving Processing efficiencies, increasing Consumption, Exports, Value Addition, Protein Extraction, Post-harvest Crop Management, etc.

• Pulses are the key source of proteins in India.

• The Indian Government needs to work to creating a plan that allows both farmers and consumers to be benefitted.

• IPGA will be engaging with the Government to pursue the inclusion of Pulses in the PDS to make the affordable for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# Centre allows Discoms more flexibility for setting up KUSUM solar pumps

• Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has allowed more flexibility to power distribution companies (Discoms) for utilising the Centre’s financial support for setting up solar projects.

• This flexibility has been extended to projects that are being set up under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) Scheme.

• Under the Component A of the PM KUSUM scheme, Discoms are encouraged to set up decentralised ground mounted grid connected renewable power plants of individual plant size up to 2 MW.

• These projects are to be set up on land offered by farmers.

• The power produced from these projects will provide an additional income to farmers through its mandatory procurement by the Discoms.

• Under the scheme, the Discoms will purchase power at pre-fixed tariff for which they will get PBI of ₹0.40 per unit up to ₹33 lakh per MW over a span of five years as central government assistance.

• According to the PM KUSUM policy, decentralised Solar energy and other renewable energy generation Plants of capacity up to 2 MW will be developed simultaneously which could be connected directly to the existing 33/11 kV or 66/11 kV or 110/11 kV sub-stations of Discoms.

• This would lead to saving in transmission system requirement apart from lowering transmission and distribution T&D losses.

# FSSAI will Spend Rs 20 Crore to Procure Rapid Food Testing Kits & Devices

• Recently, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced that it will invest over Rs 20 crore to get rapid food testing kits or devices for state-level field officers across the country.

• So far, FSSAI has approved thirty rapid food testing kits as well as devices under the recently finalized regulations for sanction of these items & methods that intend to strengthen the food testing ecosystem in India.

• These kits and devices will be given to field officers through the State governments. Different States will also buy such kits & devices from Government e marketplace or (GeM) website to make them widely available with enforcement officials.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

# India’s tea export earnings up 8% in Jan-Nov 2019

• India earned 7.83% more from tea exports till November 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

• This is due to the general upswing in global prices resulting in the cumulative average of Indian teas fetching ₹226.55 a kg till November 2019 against ₹206.79 during January-November 2018. 1.29 PM Fasal Bima Yojana – to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss

• The Centre is implementing Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss or damage arising out of unforeseen events.

• The scheme has been launched in February 2016.

• It provides comprehensive insurance coverage against crop loss on account of non-preventable natural risks, thus helping stabilise farmers income.

• The scheme also encourages the farmers to adopt innovative practices.

Premium Rates under the scheme

• Under it, there is a uniform premium of only 2 per cent to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops.

• Uniform Premium of 1.5 per cent for all Rabi crops.

• In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5 per cent.

• The balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities. 1.30 Lumpy skin disease reported in 3 districts of Kerala

• The Animal Husbandry Department of Kerala has warned dairy farmers against the lumpy skin disease that affects cattle.

• The disease is caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae.

• It is spread through mosquitoes, flies and ticks.

• It does not affect humans or other animals.

• Symptoms in cattle include fever lasting for three days, swelling in the limbs, and enlarged superficial lymph nodes.

• It can result in low milk production and infertility.

(Agriculture And Rural Development)

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