Agriculture Reforms Current Affairs - 2020

National Agricultural Export Authority, APEDA launched 186 product testing laboratories

On January 20, 2020, the APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority) has added 135 laboratories to the existing 51 laboratories. With this initiative, the total number of agricultural product testing laboratories in the country has increased to 186.

Highlights

The new laboratories are being installed in states with high agricultural potential such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka. In order to strengthen the network, a new policy has been adopted by APEDA. According to the policy, NABL (National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratories are to be added to the APEDA network.

NABL

The NABL provides the procedure for integrated assessment and requirements for testing laboratories set up in the country. It works under Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Both NABL and DPIIT operate under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Agricultural sector in India

Agricultural sector today employs more than 60% of the population. However, it accounts to only 17% of India’s GDP, which is 2.6 trillion USD. India has achieved self sufficiency in food grain production. India is one of the highest-ranking countries in terms of rice, dairy, cotton, fruits, meat, vegetables and seafood. However, due to lack of storage infrastructure, 40% of the produce are lost. The losses alone account to 13 billion USD annually. The export capacity of India can be increased if these losses are minimized.

6th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural finance

The World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance (WCRAF) began in New Delhi on November 12, 2019. It aims at bringing together stakeholders of rural and agricultural finance all over the world. The Congress is an opportunity to strengthen business relations and to promote products and services.

Background

The Congress is held at regular intervals of 3 year period.

  • The first Congress was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005.
  • The second congress was held in Bangkok in 2007.
  • The third Congress was held in 2010 in Marrakech, Morocco.
  • The fourth Congress was held in Paris in 2013
  • The 5th Congress was held in Dakar, Senegal in 2016.

6th Congress

The 6th WCRAF is being held in New Delhi. The Congress is co-hosted by NABARD-National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Theme: “Rural and Agricultural Finance: Critical Input to achieve Inclusive and Sustainable Development”

Objectives

  • To promote Global value chains in agriculture
  • To help in tackling food security
  • To ensure agriculture is in line with sustainability, natural resource conservation and social harmony.

To achieve the objective the financial institutions should constantly evolve innovatively to provide rural people stable and constant financial services.

Significance

The Congress gives importance to financial institutions that promote agricultural and rural finances. These financial systems also help maintain social and environmental balances with their strong efforts.

The Congress aims at achieving the SDG Goals 1 and 2

SDG-1: Economic Growth should be inclusive providing sustainable development and promoting equality to end poverty by 2030

SDG-2: To promote investment in agriculture to enhance sustainable agricultural productivity and sustainable food production.