Credit flow estimated at Rs. 85,724 crore for 2014–15

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has estimated a credit flow of Rs. 85,724.58 crore under the priority sector in the State in 2014–15, an increase of 26 per cent over the projections for 2013–14.

According to the State Focus Paper, released by NABARD here on Friday, Karnataka is one of the leading States in the development of agriculture with focused attention on dryland farming through watershed approach such as Sujala, and improving dryland productivity through award-winning Bhoo Chetana programme, among others.

At a seminar here, G.R. Chintala, chief general manager, NABARD, Bangalore, said, “There is a huge potential for banks to lend to the priority sector areas such as dryland farming and plantation crops like coffee, arecanut, pepper and cardamom, among others.

“Banks need to look at issues like declining area under Arabica coffee and arecanut, which is affected by yellow leaf disease. There is a need to work out a proper marketing platform for the farm produce,” he said.

The sector-wise projection for 2014–15 include crop production, maintenance and marketing (Rs. 39,246.07 crore); term investment for agriculture and allied activities (Rs. 17,990.16 crore), MSME sector, including food and agro processing, (Rs. 8,411.41 crore), and other priority sectors (Rs. 20,076.94 crore).

The State was in the forefront of securing funds from NABARD for producers’ cooperatives. Till now, NABARD has extended Rs. 39 crore as credit to these cooperatives. There is a need to help these cooperatives to grow from being single-product suppliers to multi-product suppliers by adding things like farm equipment, he said.

Karnataka produces 70 per cent of India’s coffee, 48 per cent of silk and ranks first in the production of raw silk, second in cooperative milk production, third in sugarcane production and fourth in production of flowers.

Mr. Chintala said NABARD had identified several critical infrastructure gaps in Karnataka at the district level and if these gaps were bridged, the State could increase its productivity by manifold. It had set a target of increasing the farm sector productivity from Rs. 28,000 a hectare to Rs. 30,000 a hectare in 2014–15.

Referring to a study conducted by NABARD, he said the study had projected that by the year ending 2016–17, the State required an additional storage capacity of 2.18 million tonnes, of which 1.79 million tonnes was for PDS commodities and 385,000 tonnes for non-PDS commodities.

Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee expressed concern over declining availability of land for agricultural operations and demanded adoption of innovative technologies to raise productivity in dryland areas.  

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