Nitya Chhiber

Programme Officer, CRB

16 March 2020

The government is an important stakeholder in the agricultural sector in India due to the policy support it provides. It is a key driver of policies that envision policy change on a thematic basis ranging from increasing incomes of farmers to increasing in the country's exports. This article aims to capture a brief snapshot of initiatives spearheaded by the government and while it may not provide a comprehensive picture of government initiatives, it is hoped that it is able to provide an idea of the breadth of areas that the government is able to influence.
To be a part of global value chains, compliance needs to be kept in mind in terms of meeting qualities of standard. To address the need for compliance of exports, the APEDA, which stands for Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has a state-of-the-art website, which lists exports procedures including advisories addressing exports to certain nations, a list of laboratories that are APEDA-recognised for sampling and analysis as well as country-based regulations governing imports amongst other useful information. Complementing the institutional mechanism is the fact that it is on the government agenda to promote exports from the agro-processing sector in India and hence there has been the introduction of the Export promotion strategy of APEDA products (2017) as well as the Agriculture Export Policy (2019). One of the objectives of the Agriculture Export policy is to strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chains.
In fact it has been established that exports not only provide better market opportunities to the growers but also generally help in increasing their income (Press Information Bureau, 2019, Furthermore, the basis of the agro-processing sector is to support the agricultural sector which provides employment for a vast majority of India's population and hence there is a need for infrastructure that facilitates value addition, which is also required in order to integrate in global value chains. The Indian government has provided policy support over the years in a consistent manner to those on the ground, particularly, the smallholder farmers. Value addition, particularly within the food processing industry, as it is said to have compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately eight per cent over the last five years ( Food and Beverage News, 2020,
Participation of smallholder farmers has been assured with the introduction of government schemes. Under the umbrella scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, there is the scheme for the creation of backward and forward linkages, which provides effective and seamless integration for processed food industry by plugging the gaps in supply chain in terms of availability of raw material and linkages with the market. In terms of facilitating participation of smallholder farmers, there has been the creation of Mega Food parks, which aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximising value addition, minimising wastage, increasing farmers income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector. Such infrastructure usually consists of supply chain infrastructure including collection centres, primary processing centres, central processing centers, cold chain and around 25-30 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units.
The government has been a key driver to support inclusivity and overall sustainable development in the agricultural sector. This is imperative to ensure especially in a sector that is experiencing so much rapid change with the introduction of technology and due to it being affected by climate change. Often the schemes provided by the government are piggy-backed upon and leveraged by private players. In addition, Civil Society Organisations at the grassroots level are motivated to ensure that state-level allocations are made accessible and available and at the same time are well-received by the government when proposing policy changes.
“NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of CRB.”