TIRUPATI: Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal on Friday informed Parliament that the prices of cereals are on the rise. The minister also said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index has risen from 99.3 in April 2020 to 129.4 in June 2021, providing an opportunity for food exports – benefiting farmers.
The FAO-FPI is a measure of the monthly change in international sizes of a basket of food commodities for cereals.
Responding to questions from V Prabhakar Reddy on Friday, the minister told the Rajya Sabha that the government has introduced a comprehensive agriculture export policy (AEP) to further explore the export potential of Indian agriculture and raise the income of farmers by way of promoting agricultural exports.
He said the commerce department has taken several steps to implement AEP at state/district levels, set up state level monitoring committees (SLMCs), nodal agencies for agricultural exports as also cluster level committees and formulated state-specific action plans.
The minister also said a farmer-connect portal has been set up for providing a platform to farmers, farmer-producer organisations and cooperatives to interact with exporters. Subsequently, buyer-seller meetings were also being organised in the clusters to provide export-market linkages, the minister said.
The government also introduced a central sector scheme to provide transport and marketing assistance for specified agriculture products and extend “assistance for the international component of freight” to mitigate the freight disadvantage in relation to export of agriculture products.
“Because of these initiatives, India’s agriculture exports during 2020-21 have registered an increase of 17.37 per cent as compared to the exports during the previous fiscal. Exceptional increase has been registered in the exports of items such as wheat (775.03 pc), non-Basmati rice (136.30 pc), vegetable oils (254.94 pc), other cereals (238.57 pc), oil meals (90.31 pc) and cotton (79.43 pc)”, the minister said.
Central Minister for AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal informed the House that the government as proposed to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) member states to form a BRICS Forum on traditional medicine (BFTM).
Responding to a set of questions raised by Lok Sabha Members Prabhakar Reddy and Anuradha on Friday, the minister said the government has proposed BRICS member states to evolve a consensus on signing an MoU for cooperation on traditional system of medicines. The draft MoU, which was developed by the AYUSH ministry, has been shared with BRICS members for their comments or suggestions.
“The government has proposed to BRICS member states the constitution of BFTM. The ministry of AYUSH has organised a virtual meeting of BRICS experts in traditional medicines under India’s chairmanship of BRICS 2021 on March 25 last and the meeting was attended by traditional medicines experts from all the five countries. The proposed BFTM aims at supporting the BRICS member states in strengthening their respective national capacities in traditional medicines,” he stated.
Sonowal explained to the house about the government proposal to the BRICS members for the harmonization of the regulations pertaining to traditional medicine including the products and services. He also briefed the house about various steps undertaken by the Ministry of AYUSH for the mitigation of Covid19 through the AYUSH system of medicine and to showcase it globally....