Bhubaneswar: In an aim to ensure smooth operation of agricultural activities during Covid-19 pandemic, the state government has set a target to disburse Rs 9,000 crore crop loans during 2021-22 kharif season.
Cooperation secretary Vir Vikram Yadav has recently written letters to all district Collectors to this effect. The state government has been providing Rs 50,000 agriculture loan to farmers at zero interest rate and upto Rs 3 lakh loan at 2 per cent interest. Crop loans to the tune of Rs 8,320 crore were disbursed among 18.73 lakh farmers during
The Collectors were asked to ensure smooth credit flow to the needy and eligible farmers including sharecroppers. The loan would be disbursed through cooperative institutions.
“The unprecedented situation arising out of the pandemic has posed challenges like maintaining the food supply chain and management of reverse migration of labourers to the rural areas of our state. Such a situation warrants enhancement of agricultural production and productivity as well as increase in the area under cultivation in the state, so as to provide adequate food and livelihood,” Yadav said in his letter to the Collectors.
As crop loans sanctioned to farmers have a large interest subvention component which is provided by the Centre and the state government, the Collectors were asked to obtain valid Aadhaar numbers of the beneficiary farmers so as to ensure that genuine farmers have access to the subsidised crop loans.
The secretary asked to transfer the crop loans directly to the savings bank accounts of the farmers.
He said small and marginal farmers, migrants, joint liability groups and women self-help groups should be given priority. Proper planning had been made to provide short-term credit to fisheries, animal husbandry, dairy and poultry sectors, he added.
“Any disbursement of loan in deviation of these instructions will be considered illegal and the loan sanctioning authorities shall be responsible for such illegal disbursement,” he said.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo has directed officials to ensure availability of adequate seeds and fertilizers for the farmers in the state.
Sahoo recently chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness for beginning of agricultural operation in the state. Since the state government has allowed all kinds of agriculture and allied activities during the current lockdown period, Sahoo asked field-level officers to extend all cooperation to the farmers. He also directed to prepare a database of the farmers to extend all government-sponsored benefits to them.
Kharif agricultural activities in Odisha generally start from Akshyay Trutiya which falls May 14 this year. As 90 per cent farmers in Odisha take up paddy cultivation, the field-level officials have been directed to encourage the farmers for crop diversification and take up cultivation of other cash crops for better income generation.
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