A staggering 20 per cent of farmers within the nation may not have the ability to get seed and agrochemical supplies this kharif season attributable to issues in transporting from the producer to the distributor and retailer. This is as a result of the inter- and intra-state motion of vehicles has been severely disrupted by the continued nationwide lockdown.
Seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and different agrochemicals are categoriesed as important commodities and are exempted from any restrictions. However, the motion of vehicles and different modes of transport nonetheless isn;t regular even if each, the Centre and states have allowed transportation of important commodities through the lockdown interval, which has been prolonged to May 3.
With native authorities limiting the motion of vehicles carrying agrochemicals, seeds and fertilisers, there was a scarcity of these key inputs for the kharif sowing season, which has already commenced in main agrarian states.
“We are attempting our greatest to achieve out to all farmers to produce seeds this kharif season. But we may not have the ability to attain out to greater than 80 per cent of our prospects throughout India and neighbouring international locations akin to Nepal. So, 20 per cent of the farmers we cater to may not have entry to seeds,” mentioned Satish Kagliwal, managing director, Nath Seeds, whicj sells seeds to be used in agriculture, horticulture and floriculture.
Agrochemical companies throughout the nation are dealing with similat transportation points, with native authorities denying carriers permission to ply. Labour scarcity and closure of retail retailers within the main rising centres have aggravated the issue.
“The lockdown has impacted agriculture, poultry and farm labourers immensely. Also, the supply-chain issue has hit the availability of agro input at the distributor and retailer level. The government must cut goods and services tax (GST) on agrochemicals from the existing 18 per cent to 5 per cent; This would lower cost of cultivation of farm produce. The government should also lift the ban on export of select farm produce, as such a move would elevate their prices locally and benefit farmers,” mentioned Maheshkumar Khambete, General Manager (Marketing), Indofil Industries Ltd, a significant agrochemical producer.
Interestingly, no patrons can be found for agriculture produce because of the restrictions imposed.
Harvesting of rabi crops like wheat, rice and pulses has been delayed all through the nation, and growers have begun incurring big losses as perishables like grapes and mango begin rotting.
“In many states, various products have been banned despite having required regulatory approvals. States should relook this decision so that farmers have more choices available. Also, the sale of seeds and agrochemicals through e-commerce would certainly help. The government should also extend crop loan moratorium to facilitate easy repayment,” mentioned Khambete.
While supplies to close by locations would not be a difficulty even after the lockdown ends on May 3, farmers in distant Indian villages would not have the ability to get their seeds attributable to closure of retailers in native areas there. “By the time seeds would reach them, the sowing would have beed delayed,” mentioned Kagliwal.
Meanwhile, agro enter firms are working with in-house labour and an intermittently accessible workforce from outdoors. The farm enter sector is dealing with an enormous scarcity of workforce for packaging as effectively.
With the monsoon rainfall forecast to stay regular this 12 months, farmers are anticipated to purchase seeds and different inputs as soon as the lockdown ends. But, seed producers see no improve in agro enter costs.
“Due to the lock down our Industry is faced with the challenge of making the seeds available to the farmers in time for the coming kharif. We are making efforts on a war footing to overcome the challenges. There has been very good support from both, the Centre and various state governments in this regard. We are confident that we would be able to meet the demand of farmers during the ensuing season,” mentioned Ram Kaundinya, Director General of Federation of Seed Industry of India.