Budget 2024: No money allocated for investments in the seed research front.

Agriculture urgently requires more investment in research to combat climate change, conserve natural resources through innovative seeds and farming practices, increase cotton and oilseed yields and introduce nutrient efficient crops. Supporting micro-irrigation and agricultural mechanization is crucial to save water and improve farmers’ profitability. Investments are needed to strengthen farm infrastructure, create shorter supply chains and connect farmers to markets to improve overall agricultural income. Against this background, some important points were discussed in the provisional budget.


It is encouraging to see that oilseeds such as mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame and groundnut are highlighted through a strategic approach. This includes development of high-yielding varieties and introduction of modern farming techniques, market linkages, procurement, value addition and crop insurance. While the details and budget allocations for this project remain to be seen, the seed industry working on oilseeds will be pleased to have their research investment encouraged through this program. The seed industry also believes that modern technology through GM and non-GM technologies should be introduced without hesitation in mustard and soybean in this priority area. A timely regulatory process and political and administrative support for such deployment are critical.

The announcement that the government is encouraging private investment in post-harvest activities such as consolidation, modern storage, supply chains, processing, marketing and branding is very good news. It must be implemented on a national level across countries.


The budget is missing some items. Some positive incentives to promote sustainable farming practices such as crop diversification, no-till rice and minimum tillage would have helped a lot. We should not hesitate to provide high levels of incentives for such agricultural practices because of the threat posed by climate change. Hopefully we will find it when we present a regular budget. The budget does not mention the investments needed to build the infrastructure of the green credit market, which is very important to promote sustainable agriculture. Cotton urgently needs support to help farmers and boost productivity and production. We are in danger of moving from being the largest exporter to being an importer of cotton fiber. Budget allocations were expected for promotion of science, cultivation of HDPS, mechanization. Overall, the budget announcements could go further, announcing some critical support measures for agriculture. The actual allocation of funds for oilseeds and post-harvest care would show the expected impact of these announcements.

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