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Plan to extend agri-extension services

Staff Reporter
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National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has joined hands with a Hyderabad-based Central Government Institution, MANAGE, to ensure agri-extension services were available in all the 13 blocks of the district.

According to R. Shankar Narayan, NABARD Assistant General Manager, the plan envisaged expanding Agri Clinics/Agri Business Centres (AC/ABC) through a joint strategy called ‘Madurai Model.' It encompassed carrying out a detailed mapping on the availability of private agri-extension services in different blocks, identifying the gaps and filling them through AC/ABCs scheme.

Under this scheme, candidates are selected from pool of agri graduates, given intensive training and residential inputs for 60 days covering a wide gamut of agri technologies.

They are also given assistance on preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPR), making submissions to banks in a scheme backed by attractive subsidies through NABARD. He sought the cooperation of bankers in expanding the scheme.

Mr. Shankar Narayan was addressing an one-day regional workshop on AC/ABCs scheme organised here on Monday by Tamil Nadu Regional Office of NABARD for stake holders in six districts of Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar.

Lead District Managers, NABARD Assistant General Managers, representatives from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Directors of Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI), bankers, successful ‘agri-preneurs,' and Nodal Training Institutions of ACABC schemes took part. Prospective agri-preneurs also took part in a panel discussion and discussed issues and urged the bankers to promptly release subsides.

Cutting-edge technology

Koteswar Rao, a consultant from MANAGE, outlined the Central Government's strategies for purveying cutting-edge technologies to improve farm productivity. The AC/ABCs would be fully mobilised in this direction with the guidelines for sanctioning subsidies to them having been liberalised recently.

Established at Hyderabad in 1987 as an autonomous Institute by the Union Ministry of Agriculture, from which the acronym ‘MANAGE' is derived, the institution is now known as National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management.

N.P. Rajan, Deputy General Manager and Zonal Head, Indian Bank, Madurai, said that banks which were now providing loans for education and SHGs without collateral should have no hesitation to extend the same to trained agri-graduates.

S. Bhuvaneswari, Manager (investment Credit), NABARD Tamil Nadu Regional Office, Chennai, outlined operational issues involved in implementing AC/ABCs scheme and other capital-linked subsidy schemes of NABARD.

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