Kerala Budget: Boost for Value Addition in Agriculture Sector

Value Added Farming Mission with ₹100-cr. proposed capital

Value Added Farming Mission with ₹100-cr. proposed capital

Value addition featured as a main theme for the agriculture sector in the 2022-23 budget presented Friday by Finance Minister KN Balagopal.

Mr. Balagopal announced plans for a new Value Added Agriculture Mission (VAAM) and a ₹100 crore capital company modeled after Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) for marketing value-added products added from the agricultural sector.

The total allocation for the agriculture department was ₹881.96 crore and that for the livestock department was ₹392.64 crore.

Other highlights of the sector include an expenditure of ₹500 crore to subsidize the rubber sector and an increase in the support price of paddy to ₹28.20 per kg. An amount of ₹76 crore is the expenditure for paddy development for the financial year.

According to Mr. Balagopal, VAAM will be formed to produce value-added products from agricultural resources. Five working groups will formulate strategies in areas such as agricultural productivity and inputs, agribusiness and technology, training, marketing and finance. The budget reserved ₹5 crore for VAAM.

The model enterprise CIAL, for which ₹20 crore is earmarked, aims to improve the marketing of value-added agricultural products with the cooperation of industrial and commercial entrepreneurs and others, including expatriates. Agritech Facility Centers will be established in seven districts on Department of Agriculture lands to encourage value addition.

fruit drinks

Mr. Balagopal has announced plans to produce ethanol and low-alcohol beverages from fruits and other agricultural products. The budget has earmarked ₹2 crore for a pilot project in this regard involving the Central Tuber Research Institute (CTCRI) in Thiruvananthapuram.

An amount of ₹100 crore is being allocated through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) for the start up of 10 mini food parks. Other highlights of the sector include an increase in the allocation for the promotion of vegetable cultivation and a spending of ₹10 crore on strengthening cold chain facilities. The budget earmarked ₹73.9 crore for coconut development.

Loans of up to ₹50 lakh will be given on simplified terms to groups of self-employed farmers for the purchase of agricultural tools and machinery. The scheme offers a grant of ₹10 lakh or 25%, whichever is lower.

Kerala Finance Corporation (KFC) will roll out a new program promoting industries, start-ups, processing, marketing, agricultural commodity trading, food processing units, warehouses, godowns and cold stores . Loans up to ₹10 crore will be given at 5% interest for this. The KFC has earmarked ₹250 crore for the project. The budget set aside ₹3 crore to provide interest subsidy.

In the livestock sector, a three-tier health care system is envisaged to improve standards. An amount of ₹9.80 crore has been earmarked for the provision of emergency home veterinary services at night.

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