Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has asked bankers to speed up the process of giving crop loans to farmers as the sowing season has gathered momentum after the recent rains.

Banks disbursed Rs. 73,648 crore as crop loans against a target of Rs. 52,972 crore last year. But disbursal during the current year is only Rs. 13,951 crore till date while the target had been fixed at Rs. 67,224 crore. The Chief Minister reviewed the steps being taken by the Agriculture department and the seasonal conditions with senior officials on Thursday.

One year repayment period

He wanted the officials to insist that bankers stipulate one year repayment period for the loans they extended. This would enable farmers to avail interest free loans as the government would spend over Rs. 500 crore on loans up to Rs. 1 lakh and another Rs. 60 crore under pavala vaddi (three per cent interest a year).

The officials informed the Chief Minister that sowing during the current season was likely to be over 86.95 lakh hectares against the usual 81.12 lakh hectares. Food grain production was expected to be 119.34 lakh tonne during the current season against the normal 99.78 lakh tonne.

The department had accordingly positioned 12.67 lakh quintals of seed for distribution among farmers on subsidy of which 9.94 lakh quintals involving an estimated Rs. 163.12 crore had been distributed till date.

Adequate quantities of fertiliser was also made available in the districts while ensuring strict vigilance on the cross border movement. Claims of crop insurance made last year worth Rs. 424 crore had been settled benefiting 2.77 lakh farmers. Under the weather based crop insurance scheme, claims worth Rs. 344 crore had been settled benefiting over 6.6 lakh farmers.

According to an official release, the Chief Minister wanted the officials concerned to make all arrangements required for the successful conduct of World Agriculture Congress being held here from November 4 to 7 this year.