The agriculture ministry on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five companies — CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms, ITC and NCDEX e-Markets (NeML) — to undertake pilot projects in different districts with the objective to increase farmers’ income. The participation of the private sector is among various initiatives taken to double farmers’ income by 2022.
“We will work with farmers to give them better market access so that they realise the best prices for their produce,” said Mrugank Paranjape, managing director and chief executive officer of NeML. The company will work in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Davangere in Karnataka and Nashik in Maharashtra, Paranjape said, adding it would submit an assessment report to the government after a year.
While there will be no fund infusion by the government in these pilot projects, the agriculture ministry will share farmers’ data with these companies so that the initiatives are delivery-oriented and reach the needed beneficiaries, sources said.
The Centre aims to create a database of eight crore farmers in the next four months after compiling details of 5.5 crore farmers who benefited from central schemes like PM-Kisan, soil health card and PM Fasal Bima Yojana.
Addressing chief ministers and agriculture ministers of 15 states on September 7, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had emphasised that the central and state governments must work together for agriculture to give a boost to the economy. He urged states to allow linking the Centre’s database with land records, which would help orient schemes more effectively.
“Based on these pilot projects, farmers will be able to take informed decisions on what crop to grow, what variety of seed to use and what best practices to adopt to maximise the yield. The agriculture supply chain players can plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. Farmers can take informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement.
The government has also designed a digital agriculture mission for 2021-25 for projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, block chain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots. “The agriculture value chain extends from crop selection to crop management and the market and it involves public and private players in agricultural inputs, services and logistics,” the ministry said.