Union Budget 2022 | Agri-tech: drones, start-up fund in focus

A scheme through public-private partnership to be launched for farmers

February 01, 2022 10:42 pm | Updated 10:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A digital fillip:  The FM promised to promote the use of kisan drones for spraying of insecticides on fields.

A digital fillip: The FM promised to promote the use of kisan drones for spraying of insecticides on fields.

The emerging agri-tech sector has been enthused by the abundance of digital farming references in the Union Budget speech on Tuesday.

“For delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agri-tech players and stakeholders of agri-value chain, a scheme through PPP [public-private partnership] mode will be launched,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

She added that a fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, would be facilitated through NABARD. “This is to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain. The activities for these start-ups will include, inter alia , support for FPOs, machinery for farmers on rental basis and technology, including IT-based support,” said Ms. Sitharaman.

With a wider focus on drone technology, the Minister promised to promote the use of “kisan drones” for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, and spraying of insecticides and nutrients on fields. In fact, the Budget speech emphasised the efficient use of land resources via technology. “States will be encouraged to adopt Unique Land Parcel Identification Number to facilitate IT-based management of records. The facility for transliteration of land records across any of the Schedule VIII languages will also be rolled out,” she said.

“The adoption or linkage with National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) with the ‘One-Nation One-Registration Software’, will be promoted as an option for uniform process for registration and ‘anywhere registration’ of deeds and documents,” said Ms. Sitharaman.

“The move to have NABARD facilitate funding of start-ups with a blended capital finance model should provide much needed seed capital in the agriculture & rural space,” said AgroStar CEO Shardul Sheth. “The expansion of technology focus from just tractors and agri-machinery to ‘kisan drones’ shows a rising interest in the application of IOT in the sector,” said Sheth.

He added that the “PPP model to be launched for delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers, will help farmers improve yields and increase output as we ourselves have seen. This Budget should help in accelerating the digitisation of the farming community,” he added.

“The emphasis on digital infrastructure for infusion of agriculture technologies in a PPP mode will be the need of the hour in the next 25 years to combat the serious threat of climate change,” said Chief Sustainability Officer of Syngenta India K.C. Ravi.

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