The two-day ‘4th India Agricultural Outlook Forum 2020’ webinar started in Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi today. Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Parshottam Rupala in his special address appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture for organizing the ‘4th Indian Agricultural Outlook Forum 2020’ at this crucial time. He mentioned how the agriculture sector has emerged as the star performer in India’s pandemic-hit economy. He also congratulated every farmer, every stakeholder and the central and state Governments for their appreciable commitment to the agriculture sector which recorded a 3.4% growth during the first quarter of 2020-21. On the recent reforms and policy measures, he mentioned that the Government’s main objective is to strengthen all activities and services in agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors through creation and development of agriculture infrastructure, micro food enterprises, value chains and logistics for fishery and animal husbandry, medicinal and herbal plants, and bee keeping. He expressed confidence that the Forum’s deliberations would bring out more clarity on global developmental issues and the objective of transforming agriculture into farmers’ welfare and prosperity while maintaining quality of natural resources. Lauding the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare during these challenging times, Shri Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary (DAC&FW) briefed about the key agricultural reforms initiated during the last few months. He talked about the seriousness of the government for transforming farmers into entrepreneurs. Discussing the outlook for 2020, he maintained a great outlook for agriculture sector for the current agricultural year with record sowing level and focus on pulses and oilseeds. He also discussed the long standing legacy issues in agriculture and especially marketing aspect of agricultural produce, including agricultural infrastructure and food supply management, and their impact on the price realization by farmers. He mentioned about the eco-system that has been created for post-harvest management and other steps taken by the Ministry for promotion of Farmers Producer Organizations, availability of short-term credit to small and marginal farmers, promotion of direct marketing, contract farming, price assurance and risk mitigation of farmers. He also stressed on the required changes in the state legislation to give effect to these reforms. He expressed optimism that the forum’s deliberations would help in bringing out necessary policy inputs for future. The main topics for discussion during the forum are: current national and international agricultural economic situation dictated by the pandemic and the way in which India and the world struggled to keep their economies going by minimizing the adverse impacts; game-changer farm sector initiatives; converging Indian agriculture with global commitments on sustainable and inclusive farm growth; decoding agri-tech potential; exploring new channels for rationalising cost structure of Govt. procurement agencies; and capacity building for employment opportunities. The forum is being virtually attended by the officials from centre and state governments, national and international agriculture research institutes; Chief Economist USDA; delegation from foreign embassies; International organisations like FAO, EU and OECD; scientists from ICAR, representatives from agro-Industries, business and farmers associations. ****** India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of generic medicines across the world: Shri DV Sadananda Gowda Market size of Chemicals & Petrochemicals sector in India is around 165 billion dollars; expected to grow to 300 billion dollars by 2025: Shri DV Sadananda Gowda Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri DV Sadananda Gowda has said India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of generic medicines across the world. During initial phase, he said, HCQ and Azithromycin was identified as one of medicines under treatment protocol for covid-19 in emergency cases. Referring to India supplying these medicines to more than 120 countries across the world; he underlined that india thereby earned the reputation of reliable supplier of medicines. Shri Gowda informed that India is the only country with largest number of US-FDA compliant Pharma plants (more than 262 including APIs) outside of USA with exports $ 20 billion worth of pharma products to various countries including high standards complying countries like US and Europe. Addressing the virtual Latin America & Caribbean session on ‘Reimagining Distances’, during LEADS 2020, organised by FICCI late last evening Shri Gowda said that Indian pharma sector can grow to $ 65 billion industry by 2024. “We have recently launched schemes for development of seven mega parks—three bulk drug parks and four medical devices parks across country. New manufacturers will be eligible for Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme under which they will be eligible for financial incentives on basis of their sales for first 5-6 years,” Shri Gowda said. The Minister further emphasised that this is a very- very good time to invest, and set up manufacturing base in India in pharma sector. “One can enter India market through Joint Ventures also. The advantage is that you can get access to big markets like domestic Indian market, US, Japan, EU and South East Asia through India as far as pharma sector is concerned. Any body can contact my office if they are interested in Indian pharma sector, we will provide all possible facilitation and hand holding,” he stressed. Shri Gowda also said that the market size of Chemicals & Petrochemicals sector in India is around 165 billion dollars. The size is expected to grow up to 300 billion dollars by 2025. This presents a huge opportunity in Chemical sector India. For example, to meet the growing demand India will need 5 crackers by 2025 and additional 14 by 2040. These crackers alone will require cumulative investment of 65 billion dollar. To attract foreign participation, he said, Government of India is revisiting policies for chemical and petrochemical sector. “We are thinking to extend financial incentive based on sales similar to what is being extended in our pharmaceutical sector. We are also tweaking our policies to strengthen our chemical industrial cluster which we call as PCPIRs and plastic parks. Together, these supportive Government policies will offer one of the best environments to do business in India as far as chemicals & petrochemical sector is concerned,” Shri Gowda said. The Minister added that fertiliser sector is also an attractive sector in India. there is huge demand for fertilisers by our farmers every year. However, domestic production is itself is not enough to meet requirements of fertilisers. We are large importers of urea, & P & K fertilisers. For example, in 2018-19, India imported 7.5 million ton of urea, 6.6 million ton of DAP, 3 million ton of MOP and 0.5 miliion ton of NPK fertilizer. ” I am told that Latin American and Caribbean countries are also net importers of chemical fertilisers. Instead of competing in market as buyers, we should be cooperating for making supply chains more efficient so that adequate quantity can be sourced at competitive prices.” he added Shri Gowda stressed that there is a need for collaboration for development of alternative fertilisers for example nano fertilisers, which can reduce our requirement/ usage of fertilisers, and hence dependence on imports. I would welcome any feedback on my proposal for joint R & D collaboration for development of alternate fertilisers. “We would welcome any proposal in these sectors and extend all possible handholding in India wherever it will be required, he assured,” he added.