Rajasthan government would provide farm credit to all farmers at a cheaper interest rate and efforts are being made to bring down interest rates for crop loan to farmers from current 6.7% to 5.5%, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said today at the inaugural session of Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Udaipur. The ‘GRAM’ Udaipur is being jointly organised by the Government of Rajasthan and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
She said that in the last three and a half years, Rs. 55,000 crore of interest free loans have been given to farmers in Rajasthan, which is the highest in the country till now. The State Government plans to take this figure to Rs. 75,000 crore in the next 1.5 years.
The Chief Minister further said that the interest rate of Land Development Banks and Co-operative Banks is also being continuously reduced and will soon be as low as 5.5%. The farmers who take these loans will also be given an insurance cover under the cooperative sector Bima Yojna of Rs. 6 Lakhs and will soon be increased to Rs. 10 Lakhs.The premium amount for Bima Yojna is Rs. 55 annually, out of which the farmer only has to contribute Rs. 27.50 paise. The remaining amount will be contributed by the district co-operative banks.
Highlighting the future plans of the State Government for the benefit of the farmers, Raje said that the Rajasthan Agriculture Marketing Board has designed a scheme for farmers wanting to become entrepreneurs. Under this scheme incentives are offered to the farmers for the construction of processing units on their agricultural land. These units are eligible for 50% subsidy of the capital cost or Rs. 20 lakhs, whichever is less.
In addition to this, a separate fund of Rs 100 Crore has also been made for milk unions to benefit as many as 9 Lakh milk producers. Besides, 2,652 Custom Hiring Centres will be set up in the next 3 years, the Chief Minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that by being one of the first states to formulate policies and take steps towards the vision of doubling farmers’ income, Rajasthan has set an example for the entire nation. Despite many challenges in the state, the contribution of Rajasthan’s farmers to the Gross Domestic Product is 30%. However, the need of the hour is to grow high value produce like fruits and vegetables instead of traditional crops like wheat and rice. He further said that the capital investment of farmers has significantly reduced in Rajasthan thereby increasing the profit. The Minister also pointed out that there has been no recorded farmer suicide in Rajasthan which is indeed commendable.
Rajasthan Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said that in GRAM Jaipur, 38 MoUs worth Rs. 4,400 crore were signed in the Agri sector. Out of these 22 MoUs have either been executed or are in the advanced stage of their execution. The Minister further said that Rajasthan is the first state in the country to produce Olive Green Tea. The state is now also exporting extra virgin olive oil to countries like UK, USA, Singapore, Netherlands, among others.
Uzbekistan is the partner country at GRAM Udaipur. Ambassador of Uzbekistan in India, Farhod Arziev said that Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet is an excellent platform to learn the latest technologies and farming methods being adopted in the agricultural sector in India. He said that Uzbekistan despite being an industrial country plays close attention to agriculture with special aim to increase the productivity. The country currently has 116,000 farms whose modernisation and technological improvement is a prime focus for Uzbekistan. Both the countries can benefit to learn from each other especially by sharing their knowledge in – intensive gardening and greenhouse planting.
GRAM Udaipur kicked off today with a very promising note. Nearly 15, 000 farmers including 3,000 women farmers visited on the first day of three-day mega event and they showed keen interest at exhibition area where products and innovations are being displayed. The event aims to strengthen farmers’ families of the tribal belt of the division.
Talking to R&M at the sidelines, Saini said that specific minor forest produce market has been established in Udaipur to enhance employment opportunities and farmers’ income. A special focus of the event was on demonstrations of new techniques of agriculture like drip irrigation, plasticulture as well as post-harvest management. Experts from various countries Argentina, Peru, Israel, Uzbekistan, among others also shared their technical know-how with the farmers.
‘Jajam Baithaks’ are being organised .The Baithaks are designed to enable farmers to clarify their doubts from subject experts relating to agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry in an informal setting. Rajasthan Agriculture Minister, who attended a Baithak today admitted that some farmers are more knowledgeable than our scientists and said that these interactions with farmers are a great learning experience not only farmers but for the government as well.