Agriculture Current Affair 3 February 2020

Sugar production down 24% at 141 lakh tonne during October-January

India’s sugar production declined 24 per cent to 141.12 lakh tonne during the October-January period of the current marketing year because of a fall in output in major producing state Maharashtra, according to industry body ISMA.

Sugar production stood at 185.59 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.

The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

Solar pump scheme to now cover 20 lakh farmers

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) scheme has been expanded to cover 20 lakh farmers, up from 17.5 lakh farmers it was initially intended to cover.

The scheme was initially announced in Budget 2019 to provide a parallel source of income to farmers.

It took the Centre over a year to get the Cabinet’s approval for the same primarily because of the massive budgetary support required. It was initially proposed that this 1.44-lakh crore scheme would solarise every agricultural pump and replace all the grid-connected pumps with solar power over 10 years.

The Central Financial Assistance (CFA) then envisaged for the scheme was 48,000 crore. A similar amount was to be parked by the States and financing institutions.

A boost shot for the Blue Economy

Amid slowing growth in the marine fisheries sector, the Budget initiatives are expected to to boost fish production and reinvigorate the country’s fisheries economy.

The sector is presently faced with problems of excess fishing capacity, low catch per unit effort, wide income disparities among the sectors of the fishing community and resultant socio economic conflict. The stagnant sea production warrants the need for expanding the aquaculture sector to meet the requirements of the growing population, A Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) told BusinessLine.

With over exploitation of resources and excess fishing pressure in the coastal waters, he said, the target of increasing fish production from the present 140 lakh tonnes to 200 lakh tonnes by 2022 is possible only with concerted efforts in the aquaculture sector.

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