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Farmer producer organizations can transform agriculture: ITC President Sanjiv Puri

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Believing that Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can transform agriculture, ITC Chair Sanjiv Puric on Friday said there are multiple opportunities in Indian agriculture today to achieve sustainable growth and productivity, given the courage and determination of Indian farmers and a proactive government.



Speaking at the 2022 CII Agro Tech Summit here, Puri, who is also chairman of the agrotech, said that agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy and makes up about half of Indiathe workforce is active in this sector. However, its contribution to gross value added (VAT) is only about 18 percent with challenges such as low productivity and waste, translating into lower farm incomes.

On challenges for the agricultural sector and the impact of climate change, puric said: “Today the sector faces a challenge of epic proportions and it is not unique to this sector or to India. Last year many countries experienced events that drastically reduced crop production. This year is no different, we have challenges in Europe, China and the US and recently in Indonesia. We have a neighbor whose agricultural sector has been destroyed.”

India has its own problems – first with wheat and now with rice. While countries and companies are strongly committed to net zero, the reality is that extreme weather events will only multiply as articulated in the IPCC report, he said.

Building on the opportunities for agriculture, Puri said by 2050, given population growth and better consumption patterns, India will need 60 percent more food.

There is also a movement towards healthier and more nutritious food products that offer the opportunity for value addition. Farming as a supplier of biodiesel tackling climate change is another opportunity in India, he said.

“India has the largest arable land in the world and there is a huge opportunity to multiply and grow our productivity. We are self-sufficient today and we also have the distinction of having exported Agri products worth $50 billion, but I think we can do a lot more.”

Speaking about the paths that Indian agriculture can take towards sustainable growth and productivity, Puri said: “There are some important avenues available for us to face the challenges.

“One is the power of FPOs and the power of aggregation. The Government of India has taken very far-sighted steps to promote FPOs with multidimensional schemes to support capacity building and value addition. This is the linchpin that will transform Indian agriculture.”

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