A Brief Peek Into NAFED Journey: Getting Relief for Farmersby Opinion Express May 3, 2018 0 comments
The MD of NAFED, Sanjeev Kumar Chadha says that their focus will be to continue diversification of their business in milled pulses. Other key aspects to focus on is the production of certified seeds and introduction of branded pulses, tea and spices all over the country in retail.
What were the highlights of the financial year 2017-18?
During the year 2017-18, in both Rabi and Kharif procurement seasons, NAFED procured the highest volume of pulses and oilseeds from farmers in the history of the country. 20,08,528 MTs of pulses and 11,82,650 MTs of oilseeds valuing Rs 15,698 crore were procured from 20,13,758 farmers. The highlight of the procurement was the introduction of Aadhar based procurement through specially designed e-portal and ensuring timely release of funds through a specially created gateway for payment to the farmers.
NAFED achieved a high by reaching a settlement with banks. How did you manage to pay off the loans?
During the last two years, NAFED has diversified its business activities into the supply of milled pulses, production of certified seeds, export of agri commodities on behalf of Government of India, the supply of soil testing mini kits et al. Besides this, the Federation has followed austerity measures and strict financial prudence and created cash surplus to pay the amount arrived with lender banks as per OTS under the guidance of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Rs 228 Crore have been paid by the Federation to the lender banks and debt settlement agreement has been signed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
What are the core areas that NAFED will focus on in the forthcoming year?
In the coming years, NAFED would continue to focus on its core area of agri-business which include procurement of pulses and oilseeds from the farmers. Successful implementation of MSP is key to address the farmers issues and would contribute significantly towards doubling the farmers’ income. Our focus is to continue diversification of our business in milled pulses, the introduction of NAFED brand of pulses, tea and spices all over the country in retail and production of certified seeds. The Federation would contribute towards the society at large by setting up bio-CNG and bio-coal plants in the areas where farmers resort to burning the farm residue. This would not only benefit the farmers but also benefit the environment and reduce the carbon footprint from the agriculture sector.
What has been the farmer’s response to organic farming?
Organic farming among farmers is picking up. The Government of India has introduced a new scheme to promote organic farming in the country. The area under organic farming and certification is increasing every day and farmers are following best practices to meet international standard and traceability. The challenge in this sector is going to be ensuring market linkage to the farmers and realisation of a better price.
How do you plan to extend the online procurement and payment facilities?
Online procurement and payment system is the focus area when it comes to bringing transparency in procurement and payment to the farmers. As part of Digital India campaign, we have disbursed more than Rs 25000 crore into the bank accounts of the farmers digitally in the last two seasons. This has not only brought transparency but also made the whole system of procurement efficient and reduced the time taken to pay the farmers. This has also helped in understanding the market dynamics vis-à-vis procurement of pulses and oilseeds in the country. It is proposed to further strengthen the procurement process and linking it with e-National Agriculture Market platform in the country.
How do you plan to make NAFED more responsive to the needs of the farmers?
It is proposed to introduce prior notification of the centres before the beginning of procurement season and prior registration of the farmers so they arrive at the procurement centres at a predetermined time to sell their produce without waiting at the procurement centre. This would bring much-needed relief to the farmers who often wait for days in the mandis and usually fall prey to the middlemen. It is also proposed to ensure supply of best quality seeds and biofertilisers to the farmers through the network of the Federation.
Regular communication with registered farmers on procurement related issues is going to be key. We are communicating with farmers through NAFED app which has been made user-friendly and provides real-time information on procurement centres/mandis to the farmers.
I am sure that all these new initiatives will benefit the farmers and we would contribute significantly towards fulfilling the call given by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for doubling the farmers’ income by 2022.
Writer: Sanjeev K Chadha
Courtesy: The Pioneer