Agriculture Current Affair 28 March 2022

Indian agri-tech space saw ₹6,600 crore PE funding in 4 years: Bain-CII report

Private equity investments in the Indian agri-tech space grew more than 50% annually to aggregate approximately ₹6,600 crore till 2020, according to a new report by Bain & Company and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Titled ‘Innovation in India’s Rural Economy: Disruptive Business Models are Stimulating Inclusive Growth in Agriculture and Rural Finance’, the report pointed out that India’s rural economy contributed close to half of the nation’s overall GDP in 2019–2020. “Two-thirds of India’s population participated in its rural economy in the past two years, and agriculture — the largest sub-sector within the rural economy, had the highest share of output, contributing approximately 37% of the total rural GDP,” it said.

It noted that the Indian agriculture sector had been growing steadily at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% since 2015, ‘supported by government and private sector initiatives towards improvements in its physical and digital infrastructure’. It has also witnessed the highest disruption in terms of smartphone and Internet penetration. This ecosystem is now at an inflection point, and companies that address inefficiencies across the value chain will have explosive growth potential, it said.

“Significant domestic and international investments are being pumped into the sector to improve efficiency and access to credit. Private-equity investments in the agri-tech space have skyrocketed in the last four years, growing at more than 50% per annum to aggregate approximately ₹6,600 crore till 2020,” it said, adding that investors had focussed on opportunities that address systemic issues, building sustainable systems and ensuring inclusive growth.

Canada, India need common framework on agri trade: Canada India Business Council’s Thomas

Canada and India should draft a common framework on agriculture-related issues for smooth business in agri items, said Victor T. Thomas, president of the Canada India Business Council. In an exclusive interview, Mr Thomas highlighted that Canada was looking forward to firm up an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) before the final conclusion of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

“On the agricultural side, our standards are very high. We are the sixth-largest exporter of agricultural products. The trouble has been that there were inconsistencies on both sides. The agreed upon framework to trade in agriculture was missing for both sides. Agriculture is one of our strongest pieces and a lot can be done in this sector. Canada’s role can be crucial in ensuring food security in India,” said Mr. Thomas providing his take on resolving the difficulties in the negotiation of the agriculture sector.

India and Canada restarted negotiations over the Free Trade Agreement earlier this week when Ottawa’s Trade Minister Mary Ng was hosted by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. Speaking at the event, Mr. Goyal had highlighted issues regarding agriculture that are expected to be addressed during the negotiation over the coming months. Mr. Thomas said Canada was interested in a range of items such as jewellery, textiles and spices from India that are expected to be part of the trade deal.

Canada and India began negotiation on the FTA a decade ago but the talks were stalled in the backdrop of political shifts on both sides. Mr. Thomas said that Canada sensed that possibilities for the trade deal had opened up as India had fast-pedalled similar deals with countries like Australia, the UAE, and the United Kingdom, adding, “There were times that were less than ideal. Things are back on track. Both countries want to make it work.”

Northeast rubber wave revives Kerala nurseries

Lakhs of saplings ready for plantations in seven northeastern States

Riding on a plantation wave that is sweeping the Northeast of the country, the rubber nurseries in Kerala are getting the best out of their grow bags after a decade-long lull.

A plan by the Rubber Board to develop rubber plantations in an area of two lakh hectares across the seven Northeastern States in a span of five years starting from 2021- 22 has unleashed pent-up demand among the rubber nurseries in the State. Besides bringing in a dramatic turnaround in sales, this expanding programme of plantation has also ensured a longer business season in the coming years as nurseries play catch-up.

According to officials with the Rubber Board, a whopping 51 lakh rubber saplings, sourced from the nurseries across Kerala, will soon be making their way to plantations across the Northeast and West Bengal. The consignment, comprising 36 lakh of rubber stumps and 15 lakh cup plants (root trainer plants), will be sent to Guwahati on board various passenger and special trains.

“As many as 10 special trains have been scheduled between Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta and Guwahati from May last week to the first half of September for transporting the cup plants. These saplings will be dispatched to the respective destinations through the farming clusters under the Board,‘’ said a top official with the Rubber Board.


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