Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday assured the agro-chemicals industry that he would take up the industry's demand to reduce GST on pesticides to 5 per cent from 18 per cent with the finance minister. Addressing the 11th Agrochemicals Conference 2022' organised by FICCI, the minister stressed on the need for crop diversification and said farmers should grow more horticulture and costly crops.
On the industry's demand to reduce GST on pesticides, Tomar said the matter related to this subject is being dealt by the GST Council. "I will meet and apprise the Finance Minister about your demand," he said.
Tomar said he would take up the issue with the finance ministry on behalf of the industry but a final decision on this would be taken by the GST Council. The minister was responding to the demand made by FICCI Crop Protection Committee Chairman R G Agarwal that the GST should be reduced to 5 per cent from 18 per cent, as it is in the case of fertilisers. This will bring down the cost and promote usage of crop-protection chemicals.
Tomar also emphasised on making agriculture profitable by increasing production and crop productivity, besides reducing input cost as well as post-harvest crop losses. He highlighted that the Centre has launched many programmes in the last eight years to boost agriculture sector and double farmers income.
Tomar said the Centre, along with States, is making efforts to provide new technologies to farmers. The government is in the process to set up 10,000 FPOs (farmers producer organisations) to improve income of farming community, he added.
The minister said the country is self-sufficient in foodgrains production while the government is making efforts to boost oilseeds and pulese output in a mission mode. He spoke about the need to undertake research in agriculture sector in the field of new seed varieties to improve crop yield.
Talking about fertilisers and pesticides, Tomar said there is a need to promote balanced use of these crop protection products. He agreed that there is no unjudicious use of fertilisers and pesticides in India but asked the industry to work on alternative products as farmers are also taking interest in organic as well as natural farming.
Tomar said the government and the industry should work together to create awareness among the small and marginal farmers about benefits of agro-chemicals. The minister said Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are working in this direction but there is a need to make concerted efforts.