Govt permits 5 private enterprises for cluster farming on 50,000 hectares
The Centre has permitted five private firms to conduct cluster farming of specific horticulture crops on approximately 50,000 hectares on a trial basis, entailing an investment of ₹750 crore, including government subsidies – a move aimed at making Indian produce more globally competitive and increasing farmer income. Five firms were chosen for trial cluster farming through a tendering process: Desai Agrifoods, FIL Industries, Sahyadri Farms, Meghalaya Basin Management Agency, and Prasad Seeds.
Under the recently formed national program Cluster Development Programme (CDP), which is managed by the National Horticulture Board and has an outlay of ₹2,200 crore, the Centre will provide financial support of up to ₹100 crore depending on the size of the project.
Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary in the Agricultural Ministry, told PTI that the cluster-based approach has shown tremendous success around the world. In India, for the first time, the government is encouraging market-led growth of the whole value chain of selected horticultural crops by providing financial aid.
‘These five companies cover around 55,000 farmers and cover an area of nearly 50,000 hectares. The investment in these clusters is approximately ₹750 crores’ He stated.
Desai Agrifoods’ ₹103 crore ‘banana cluster’ project, for example, will be developed in Ananthapura, Andhra Pradesh, Sahyadri Farms’ ₹205 crore ‘grapes cluster’ project in Nasik, Maharashtra, and Meghalaya Basin Management Agency’s ₹52 crore ‘turmeric cluster’ project in West Jaintia Hills, he said.
According to him, FIL Industries would establish a ‘apple cluster’ in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir, and Prasad Seeds will establish a ‘mango cluster’ in Mahabubnagar, Telangana.
These companies’ primary crops will be bananas, apples, grapes, turmeric, and mango. The project’s completion and operationalization will take four years. The government intends to cultivate 55 distinct clusters discovered around the country, each with its own crop. On a pilot basis, the pilot will begin with 12 clusters and seven focused crops.
The CDP would provide financial assistance of up to ₹25 crore for mini clusters larger than 5,000 hectares, up to ₹50 crore for mid clusters larger than 5,000 hectares, and up to ₹100 crore for mega clusters larger than 15,000 hectares.
Cluster farming implementation agencies are chosen through a bidding procedure for each vertical: pre-production and production; post-harvest management and value addition; and logistics, marketing, and branding.
In addition to private corporations, implementing agencies can be farmer producer organizations (FPOs), farmer producer companies (FPCs), federations, cooperatives, societies, partnership firms, proprietorship firms, state agricultural and marketing boards, and other public sector bodies.
The primary goal of DCP is to make it easier for farmers to obtain clean, high-quality planting material. The availability of these planting materials will improve the quality of product at the farm level while also allowing farmers to reap the benefits of exporting their crops. This will be achievable due to crop production aligning with international standards.