Karnataka Budget | Efforts on creating new marketing avenues, but no holistic approach

To reduce the burden on farmers, the Budget has proposed to reduce market fee from 1.5% to 0.6% in the APMC  

The State Budget appears to have made efforts to create new marketing avenues for farmers as it has announced a slew of initiatives, including creation of an unified market platform for better marketing, connectivity, and publicity for FPOs and similar measures for organic produce as well as minor millets. This is in addition to the proposal to set up exclusive markets for flowers, vegetables, turmeric, and chilli in different places.

However, the Budget appears to be lacking a holistic approach with respect to strengthening agrarian economy, especially making farming a sustainable economic activity. There is no clarity on how the proposed marketing initiatives will reach all farmers.

There were huge expectations on agriculture in the wake of the sector showing vibrancy by attracting a large number of educated youth during COVID-19. Also, there were expectations of announcements being made in the Budget to encash further upon benefits under the ‘one district, one product’ scheme of the Centre.

Though there are initiatives, they are scattered and do not measure up in size to cover all the regions and all farmers.

To reduce the burden on farmers, the Budget has proposed to reduce the market fee from 1.5% to 0.6% in the APMCs. The reservation being provided to farmers’ children in agricultural universities has been increased from 40% to 50%.

The Budget has proposed to increase the subsidy for setting up cold storage units and post-harvest management/processing plants from 35% to 50%.

Similarly, a programme with an outlay of ₹500 crore has been announced to promote organic farming. It has also announced that demonstration plots will be set up in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research as well as agricultural and horticultural universities to introduce new technology and crop varieties and better management practices to farmers. But there is no clarity on whether these demonstration plots will cover the entire State.

Some of the innovative initiatives include setting up of a food park at Ittangihal village in Vijayapura district to provide opportunity to set up agro startups, small and medium industries besides processing local crops and establishing a horticultural technological park at Sirivara village in Koppal taluk for economic development of horticultural farmers through training and introduction of new technologies.

It has also announced an integrated farming system programme and a new agricultural export zone for aromatic and medicinal plants, fruits, vegetables and spices.

The Karnataka Wine Board is being reconstituted as Karnataka Grapes and Wine Board to promote cultivation of grapes.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 3:51:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-budget-efforts-on-creating-new-marketing-avenues-but-no-holistic-approach/article34023746.ece

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