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How Satellites Can Improve Decision-Making For Agricultural Investments

USDA information about crop supply and demand estimates is fundamental to both policy-makers and agricultural investors. Nevertheless, the current situation with markets and crops is changing faster than USDA report releases, especially with the uncertainty around coronavirus pandemics. The uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 reinforces the need for reliable, precise, politically neutral, and promptly available data for investors.

Here’s where digital tools can come in handy.

Geospatial intelligence, supply-and-demand estimates, crop tours, experimental plots, direct contact with grain producers are among the most effective ways to gather much-needed data. Agricultural investing is entering in the ‘remote prediction’ era where the one with superior AI tools has the edge. This is where satellite technologies can close informational gaps – and do it faster than once a month.

Read more at Investing.com

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Positive side: Farmers in direct contact with big buyers

The lockdown is driving some long-awaited positive changes in agriculture – it is bringing farmers in direct contact with big buyers in cities and is forcing a change in cropping practices that will help rejuvenate the soil and conserve water. The acute shortage of labour will severely restrict the popular practice of paddy transplantation in Punjab and Haryana which increases the yield but is very water intensive and depletes groundwater significantly. As much as 12 times man-days of labour is required in paddy compared to wheat.

Read more at The Economic Times

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Agri Ministry launches a call centre for Agri Logistics in India

The Agriculture Ministry has set up a call centre to ease the difficulties in agri logistics, particularly the inter-State movement of perishable vegetables and fruits as well as agri inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. The All India Agri Transport Call Centre, which will coordinate movement of produce and agri inputs, can be accessed at 1800-180-4200 and 14488 from any mobile or landline phone. Stakeholders including truck drivers, traders, retailers, and transporters who are facing problems in inter-State movement of commodities, can seek help by calling at the call centre. It will forward the vehicle and consignment details, along with the nature of help needed, to State government officials for immediate action. The move is to ease inter-State movement of agri commodities during the lockdown period.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

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Experts welcome agri stimulus, stress on proper distribution

Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina on Sunday declared to form a Tk 50 billion scheme for small and medium scale farmers who could get loan at 5.0 per cent interest rate in Bangladesh. The decision came following an upcoming probable food crisis across the globe due to the virus pandemic. While declaring the scheme, she said the government will provide the incentives so that no land can remain uncultivated. Farmers will be able to continue their production to avoid any kind of food shortage in the country. Poultry, agricultural farm, spice, fruits and other food crop producers could get the loan facility. Appreciating the government’s move to provide Tk 50 billion loan to farmers at low interest rate, experts put emphasis on its proper distribution.

Read more at The Financial Express

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USDA Announces Loan Maturity for Marketing Assistance Loans Now Extended to 12 Months

Agricultural producers now have more time to repay Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The loans now mature at 12 months rather than nine, and this flexibility is available for most commodities. Spring is the season when most producers have the biggest need for capital, and many may have or are considering putting commodities under loan. Extending the commodity loan maturity affords farmers more time to market their commodity and repay their loan at a later time

Eligible commodities include barley, chickpeas (small and large), corn, cotton (upland and extra-long staple), dry peas, grain sorghum, honey, lentils, mohair, oats, peanuts, rice (long and medium grain), soybeans, unshorn pelts, wheat, wool (graded and nongraded); and other oilseeds, including canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sunflower seed, and sesame seed. Seed cotton and sugar are not eligible.

Read more at USDA