Utilise agriculture infrastructure fund, Minister tells farmers, FPOs

Farmers looking at products in a stall at a conclave on Agriculture Infrastructure Fund in Tiruchi on Friday.

Farmers looking at products in a stall at a conclave on Agriculture Infrastructure Fund in Tiruchi on Friday. | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

Farmers, farmers producers’ organisations and entrepreneurs should make full use of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) to strengthen farm gate and post-harvest management infrastructure in the State, Agriculture Minister M.R.K.Paneerselvam said here on Friday.

Tamil Nadu has been allotted ₹ 5,990 crore to be advanced as credit under the fund for creating infrastructure in the farm sector. Loans up to ₹ 2 crore are eligible for 3% interest subvention. Loans can be availed for creating infrastructure such as warehouses, silos, pack houses, assaying units, sorting and grading units, cold chains, logistics facilities, primary processing centres, ripening chambers and other projects, he said speaking at a conclave on AIF organised by the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business here.

Mr. Paneerselvam emphasised the need for creation of agriculture infrastructure near farmlands by primary cooperative credit societies, entrepreneurs and FPOs for reducing post-harvest losses and value-addition.

Municipal Administration Minister K.N.Nehru, while welcoming the funding extended under the initiative, suggested that credit be advanced liberally for mechanisation of agriculture as farmers were faced with shortage of labour. He also urged the Agriculture Department to focus on coming out with new fine paddy varieties, which are preferred by the consumers in the State, through the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Minister for School Education Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that the presentation of separate Budget for agriculture and other initiatives showed the State government’s commitment to work for the uplift of farmers.

C.Samayamoorthy, Agriculture Production Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture, M.Pradeep Kumar, Collector, and senior officials from State and Central government agencies elaborated on aspects of the AIF.

Later speaking to reporters, Mr. Paneerselvam said strict action would be taken against fertilizer dealers if they were found selling fertilizers over and above the stipulated price. Action would be taken if they forced farmers to buy other products along with fertilizers. Officials have already conducted inspections of the outlets to check such malpractices and the exercise would continue, he said in response to a question.

He said steps were being taken to create necessary storage capacity to accommodate the paddy procured from farmers. The previous government’s failure to plan and create storage facilities has resulted in foodgrains being drenched in rain during monsoon. Steps were being taken to rectify the situation, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 7:11:39 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tiruchi/article65761964.ece