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States assure Centre of utilising Rs 1 trn agri fund for farmers' welfare

States have assured the Centre that they will utilise the Rs 1 trillion agriculture infrastructure fund to create post-harvesting and other facilities at village level for the benefit of farmers

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
States have assured the Centre that they will utilise the Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund to create post-harvesting and other facilities at village level for the benefit of farmers, especially small and marginal ones, an official statement said on Thursday.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a detailed discussion with chief ministers and state agriculture ministers on recent agriculture market reforms and the new Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs 1 lakh crore, it said.
The event conducted through video conference was attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackerey.
Besides, Agriculture Ministers of Rajasthan, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Telangana were present. Union Ministers of State for Agriculture Purshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary also participated in the discussion.
Tomar emphasized that the focus of the fund is to improve post-harvest management infrastructure and availability of community farming assets, and it is to be ensured that small and medium farmers receive the full benefit, the statement said.
"The Chief Ministers and State Agriculture Ministers gave full assurance that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring utilization of the Rs 1 lakh crore fund, and new infrastructure will be created in all the villages," the statement said.
Tomar said the Centre is committed to ensuring the welfare and sustainability of livelihoods for farmers.
He said that the new ordinances brought in by the government to reform agri-marketing are for the welfare of farmers.
Tomar highlighted a few key initiatives including the Rs 6,865 crore scheme for Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs, three recent ordinances, benefits released under PM-KISAN, KCC (Kisan Credit Cards) drive for farmers, and the increased focus on digital agriculture.
Tomar said FPOs (Farmers Producers Organisation) would have a big role in increasing production, productivity and value realization, and reducing the cost of cultivation of small farmers.
The ministers discussed the benefits of the scheme and how it will help states drive growth in investment, create new jobs in the agriculture and allied sectors, and improve farmer income.
There was a detailed discussion on the opportunity across states to invest in post-harvest management solutions and community farming assets like modern silos, cold chains, integrated pack-houses, and IoT/ precision agriculture.
Tomar asked states to explore convergence with multiple central and state schemes to improve the economics of the investments under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
Assuring that the UP government will work with full dedication for welfare of farmers under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package, Adityanath informed Tomar that more than 2.14 crore farmers have benefitted from the PM-KISAN scheme in the state.
As many as 12 lakh new KCCs are being given in addition to the 1.44 crore already issued. One FPO is being formed in each of the 825 blocks in the state.
Uddhav complimented the Centre for formulating and implementing a national scheme for agricultural development at a fast pace. To make farmers self-reliant, he said it was essential to create basic facilities for them, for which provision has been made in the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
"The Chief Ministers assured expeditious implementation of the scheme in the states to enable farmers to realize benefits," the statement said.
The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium to long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years). Under the scheme, Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum and credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE ) for loans up to Rs 2 crore.
The beneficiaries will include farmers, FPOs, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), multipurpose cooperative societies, agri-entrepreneurs, startups, and central/state agency or local body sponsored Public-Private Partnership projects.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 27 2020 | 10:16 PM IST

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