NCDC organized a national webinar on the theme of “New Ordinances: New Opportunities for Cooperatives” on Thursday in which several top-notch co-operators and a few top level officers including Secretary Sanjay Agarwal participated. Over 900 people from different states registered themselves. Around 250 were connected through Zoom and scores watched live on YouTube.
The main discussion related to how co-ops can increase their storage capacity and keep the produce in godowns and how the working capital finance be extended against stored produce. The issue of private capital in the agriculture sector was also discussed threadbare.
The idea of organizing the webinar on the new ordinances was conceived by NCDC MD Sundeep Nayak who, in his introductory remarks apprised the participants of the objective of the webinar. “There is a lot of opportunity for co-ops especially PACCs to strengthen themselves. They can take advantage of new schemes and policies”, he said on the speaking on occasion.
Three ordinances namely-the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services were taken up.
The keynote address and special address was given by Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Food and PDS respectively. Other speakers include, L Chuaungo, Chief Secretary, Mizoram, Dr. Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary, Odisha, N Saravana Kumar, Secretary, Bihar and cooperators including Dileepbhai Sanghani, Chairman Nafscob, Ramesh Vaidya, President, Sahakar Bharati, N Satyanarayana, CE, NCUI and others.
In his keynote address, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture praised the role of cooperatives in agriculture and said, “There are over 95k PACCs in our country out of which 45k are financially sound and well managed. With the promulgation of three ordinances they can take the benefit to strengthen themselves and work for the benefit of farmers which help in doubling their income till 2022”, he said.
“He emphasized on increasing the private capital in the agriculture sector which is very less. On the occasion, a presentation on creating a free and efficient agri eco system under the ordinances was also shown by him”.
Agarwal further stressed on several schemes of the government including the Agri infra fund, scheme for 10k FPOs, digital and smart agriculture and others. PACCs can take the benefit of the Agri Infra fund by establishing warehouses, pack houses, assaying units, cold chains, soil testing labs and others. The steps taken by the ministry are showing the encouraging result”, he concluded.
In his remarks, Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Food and PDS said, “In India the warehousing sector is totally neglected and this sector is not in the forefront. Besides, almost 70 percent of total agri warehousing capacity exists in the Public sector and the contribution of private players in this sector is very limited. In this regard, NCDC can play a big role in encouraging co-ops to construct godowns”, he underlined.
Besides, Dileep Sanghani, NAFSCOB Chairman has called for modifications in the co-ops scheme launched by the government. The grant-in-aid for constructing the godowns for PACCs should be increased. Though, he praised the efforts of PM Narendra Modi to announce the scheme in the development of agriculture sector.
Sahakar Bharati President, Ramesh Vaidya said the schemes are good but there is no proper implementation at ground level. In our country FPOs should not become a parallel organization to PACCs they must be in coordination with PACCs. NCUI CE N Satyanarana informed about the role of NCUI and said these three will help in doubling the income of farmers.
On the occasion, L Chuaungo, Chief Secretary, Mizoram said in terms of agriculture and cooperative movement our state is very weak. Now with this new ordinance our country will see the quantum jump in terms of storage of food grains, processing and export of agriculture produce. Saravana Kumar, Secretary, Bihar said all three ordinances focus on giving priority to cooperatives and PACCs. This will directly benefit the farmers.
There was also a Question and Answers session. The program was anchored by Nandita Gupta, Jt. Secretary, DFPD, GoI. Prasad, Chief Director, NCDC proposed a vote of thanks.