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PM PRANAM: Fertilizer Reforms Unveiled



  Sep 06, 2023

PM PRANAM:Fertilizer Reform


The PRANAM (PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth) is an initiative aimed at promoting balanced use of chemical and alternative fertilizers, advocating for regenerative agriculture, and boosting soil health, climate protection, water resources, biodiversity, and farm productivity.
 

Pros (Pluses) of PRANAM:

Environmental Conservation: By promoting regenerative agriculture, PRANAM focuses on conserving and rejuvenating soil health, biodiversity, and vital water resources.
 
Reduction in Fiscal Burden: With the enormous subsidy on chemical fertilizers (₹2.25-lakh crore for FY 2022-23), promoting PRANAM can help the government reduce this substantial subsidy burden and the fiscal deficit.
 
Infrastructure and Innovation: A significant chunk of the 50% subsidy savings provided to States/UTs under PRANAM is earmarked for infrastructure creation and green technology innovation.
 
Incentives: The remainder of the subsidy savings will be used as incentives for farmers, panchayats, FPOs, and SHGs, fostering a culture of lower input costs and regenerative agriculture awareness.
 
Potential Growth for Farmer Cooperatives: Cooperatives, which have been producing bio-fertilizers since 2009-10, might find PRANAM as an opportunity to increase their scale and influence.
 
Setting up of Bio-Input Resource Centres: With the goal of establishing 10,000 such centers in three years, this will bolster the national micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.
 

Cons (Minuses) of PRANAM:

Efficacy Concerns: The actual efficacy of alternative fertilizers in increasing crop yields or productivity remains uncertain. There is a need for more research and evidence in this domain.
 
Gradual Phase-Out Challenges: A gradual withdrawal of subsidies on chemical fertilizers might be met with resistance. However, it could also stimulate the adoption of alternative or bio-fertilizers.
 
Impact on Chemical Fertilizer Firms: With the potential phase-out of the retention pricing scheme that benefits chemical fertilizer manufacturers, there might be immediate and significant impacts on these companies.
 
Margins on Bio-Fertilizers: The margin on sales of bio-fertilizers needs to be worked out to ensure that sales and distribution networks remain incentivized.
 
Demonstration Needs: There's a dire need to demonstrate the efficacy and benefits of alternative fertilizers on actual farmer fields, especially in light of events like the Sri Lankan food crisis.
 
In conclusion, while PRANAM presents an innovative approach to balancing environmental conservation with agricultural productivity, its success will largely depend on its practical implementation, farmer adoption, and the balance of economic incentives and penalties.
 
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