By Navneet Singh
Budget 2019 India: As expected, the budget has announced some remarkable agriculture reforms and initiatives to boost farmers income. The government is positively moving towards its commitment of doubling the income of farmers by 2022. We were expecting special attention for priority plants and cash crops like Stevia which have a huge potential to disrupt Consumer Health, Farmers Income, and Environment. This will support high-quality Natural ingredients, equipping the F&B industry to address the growing consumer sentiments for healthy F&B products & cementing the FSSAI initiative to reduce Calories via their Thoda Kum campaign.
Although in the Interim Budget 2019-20 speech, Finance Minister Piyush Goel has conveyed that high farm production and productivity will be achieved through modern agricultural technological intervention and value addition, somehow the budget fails to address the demands of the fast-growing F&B industry.
The Budget has also announced some booster initiatives for the dairy segment which will certainly motivate dairy product manufacturers in India to create new and healthy product avenues for Indian consumers. Government s focus on self-sufficiency in food, and improving agricultural productivity with an emphasis on organic food forms will further strengthen the ambitious vision of a healthy India. This will promote F&B manufacturers, food service providers, and consumers to embrace natural and healthier products and lifestyles.
We seek more support from the government to give a fair chance to Healthy innovations taking place in the Food and Beverage space. Consumer s quest to embrace healthier lifestyles and support the country in removing the infamous tag of World’s Diabetic Capital is fuelling the demand for Stevia, other Natural ingredients, and clean labels. The National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) is aggressively working to promote cultivation of medicinal plants under National AYUSH Mission (NAM), Stevia is a priority plant listed for cultivation by NMPB. PureCircle request the GST council & policy makers to review GST redemption of Stevia natural sweeteners and favorably generate demand and encourage manufacturers to launch a wide range of Stevia-based products in the country.
(The Author is head of the South East Asia Region, Pure Circle. Views express are his personal)