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MoA&FW & Digital Green signs MoU to develop National Level Digital Extension Platform

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Agriculture ministry signs MoU to develop national level digital extension platformOn February 6, 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Digital Green under Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework to build a national-level digital extension platform.

  • The platform, set to be launched within six months, will strengthen the extension system and make it more efficient and effective by connecting farmers to the strong foundation of the digital agriculture ecosystem that is being built by the government.

What is on the platform?

i.The proposed platform aims to serve the farming community in India by providing a portal with advanced capabilities to support Agtech and other market actors.

ii.It will host a digital library of curated content and help extension workers deliver it to farmers.

  • It will also provide online courses to upskill extension workers in various agriculture and rural livelihood fields.

iii.Its goal is to bring together the outreach efforts of various departments of agriculture, horticulture, livestock, dairy, fisheries and rural livelihoods under a single digital platform with decentralized content creation and targeted dissemination.

Key Points:

i.There are over 200,000 extension workers in India in agriculture, livelihood and allied sectors.

ii.Digital Green, founded by Rikin Gandhi, is an award winning social enterprise that utilizes technology to support small and marginal farmers to enhance their productivity and income.

  • It has been working with governments in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

MoA&FW mulls new certification system for organic cotton, derivatives

MoA&FW will also formulate a new certification system for organic cotton, and derivatives as a part of its efforts to promote Indian export.  In this regard, the ministry will set up a committee to look into the issues of organic certification of cotton and its derivatives.

  • The committee will consider the possibility of launching the new certification system under MoA&FW with the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies and the Quality Council of India (QCI) being part of it.

Key Points:

i.Existing system:

  • Currently, private organic textile standards such as Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and Textile Exchange control the global market, reducing India to a mere raw material supplier in the organic textile segment.
  • Currently, manufacturers and exporters of organic textiles are getting certified under GOTS to promote India’s organic textiles. But, Germany-based GOTS is not a government label but a “private standard” and “private label”.
  • In the value chain of organic textiles, the government’s monitoring ends with organic cotton. This leaves its derivatives such as yarn, fabrics, made-ups and garments unregulated.

ii.This plan to formulate new certification system comes after representations from service organisations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the notification of the “Indian Standard for Organic Textiles” to protect Indian organic cotton and the textiles industry.

iii.Thus the Agriculture Ministry’s initiative on setting up a panel would promote indigenous varieties of cotton and organic cotton and their derivatives.

Recent Related News:

i.MoA&FW had approved the formation of an Advisory Group for streamlining the development of the Bamboo sector. The Advisory group is represented by various stakeholders including academicians, researchers, innovators, progressive entrepreneurs, designers, farmer leaders, marketing specialists and policy makers.

ii.A MoU was signed between the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) in New Delhi (Delhi) to promote Millet based Products.

About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW):

Union Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar (Constituency- Morena, Madhya Pradesh )

Minister of stateSushri Shobha Karandlaje  ;Kailash Choudhary
Secretary– Manoj Ahuja