Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said that in the Budget 2018-19, the Government has moved forward towards achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 and has charted a road map for arresting price volatility of TOP (Tomato, Onion and Potato) in the country. “Allocation for the Ministry has been doubled in the current Budget 2018-19 to Rs. 1400 crore, the Minister said while addressing a press conference on budget allocations.
Lauding the vision of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for the initiative ‘Operation Greens’, the Minister said, “the poor and the middle class have been bearing the brunt of price volatility of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) for decades together. Under Operations Greens we shall be creating a sustainable road map to ensure that Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) are available in every nook and corner of the country round the year without any price volatility.”
A sum of Rs. 500 crore has been earmarked for this purpose in the Budget 2018, the Minister said. The Minister informed that the Government is looking at compressing the supply chains and creating appropriate climate infrastructure for natural preservation of Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) and promoting Farmers Producers Organizations, Agri Logistics Processing facilities, and professional management. Badal informed that one of the most revolutionary initiatives announced in Budget 2018-19 to give impetus to the food processing sector is establishing Specialized Agro Processing Financial Institutions to unlock finance for establishing food processing industries.
These institutions would help overcome the deterrents faced while installing food processing projects that are capital intensive and have long gestation period, by ensuring timely, accessible and affordable credit to this sector, the Minister added. The Minister also lauded the thrust provided for promoting agri-clusters and Mega Food Parks in the Budget to strengthen farmers.