Tuning the policy norms further to attract declining foreign investment, in a significant development, India on Thursday announced allowing 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the agriculture sector including seeds, plantation, horticulture and cultivation of vegetables.

According to the circular by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion released on "Consolidated FDI Policy -- Circular 1 of 2011", 100 per cent FDI has been now allowed in development and production of seeds and planting material, floriculture, horticulture, and cultivation of vegetables and mushrooms under controlled conditions. The policy will come into effect from Friday (April 1).

Besides, animal husbandry (including of breeding of dogs), pisciculture, aquaculture under controlled conditions and services related to agro and allied sectors have also been brought under the 100 per cent FDI norm. Similarly, the tea sector has also been brought under the 100 per cent norm.

The DIPP has imposed certain conditions for companies dealing with development of transgenic seeds and vegetables wanting to take the 100 per cent FDI route.

According to the circular, when dealing with genetically modified seeds or planting material the company is supposed to comply with safety requirements in accordance with laws enacted under the Environment (Protection) Act on the genetically modified organisms; any import of genetically modified materials, if required, shall be subject to the conditions laid down vide Notifications issued under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992; the company shall comply with any other law, regulation or policy governing genetically modified material in force from time to time; undertaking of business activities involving the use of genetically engineered cells and material shall be subject to the receipt of approvals from Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM); the Import of materials shall be in accordance with National Seeds Policy.

Further it states the term “under controlled conditions’’ covers the following: Cultivation under controlled conditions’ for the categories of floriculture, horticulture, cultivation of vegetables and mushrooms is the practice of cultivation wherein rainfall, temperature, solar radiation, air humidity and culture medium are controlled artificially. Control in these parameters may be effected through protected cultivation under green houses, net houses, poly houses or any other improved infrastructure facilities where microclimatic conditions are regulated anthropogenically.

In case of animal husbandry, the term under controlled conditions includes: rearing of animals under intensive farming systems with stall-feeding. Intensive farming system will require climate systems (ventilation, temperature/humidity management), health care and nutrition, herd registering/pedigree recording, use of machinery, waste management systems. Poultry breeding farms and hatcheries where microclimate is controlled through advanced technologies like incubators, ventilation systems etc.

In the case of pisciculture and aquaculture, it includes: aquariums hatcheries where eggs are artificially fertilised and fry are hatched and incubated in an enclosed environment with artificial climate control.

Keywords: FDIagriculture