Tamil Nadu

T.N. third in Centre’s scheme for agri ventures

Tamil Nadu stands third among the States under the Union government’s scheme to create agri-ventures. But one of the key hurdles has been banks’ reluctance to fund these projects.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, together with NABARD, launched a scheme in 2002 to tap into the large pool of agriculture graduates and train and enable them to open their own agriclinics or agribusiness centres.

So far, 7,764 candidates have been trained and 3,689 agriventures have been established under the scheme in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu ranks third after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where 8,155 and 7,152 ventures have been established.

Agriclinics are envisaged to provide expert advice and services to farmers on soil health, cropping practices, plant protection, crop insurance, clinical services for animals and feed and fodder management, among others. Agribusiness centres are commercial units established by trained agriculture professionals. Some of these ventures may include maintenance and custom hiring of farm equipment, sale of inputs and other services in agriculture and allied areas. Some of the other standalone ventures include veterinary clinics.

The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) is the nodal agency for providing training to the eligible candidates.

Bank loans are available based on the techno-economic viability of projects and a moratorium of 2 years is provided. The loans can be repaid within 5 to 10 years. A subsidy is available up to a project cost of ₹20 lakh for an individual project (₹25 lakh in case of extremely successful individual projects) and up to ₹1 crore for a group project. A composite subsidy of 36% of the project cost is provided, as per the revised guidelines issued in 2019.

“Despite creating awareness, banks have not come forward to lend,” said Saravanan Raj, Director, MANAGE.

A bank official said that though the scheme had been in operation for long, the credit off-take had not been up to the desired level.

Mr. Raj suggested that instead of bank loans, grants can be provided under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation. Under the programme, a financial assistance of up to ₹25 lakh is given for other agri start-ups. The other alternative would be an interest subvention of 4% instead of the subsidy, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 3:49:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-ranks-third-in-centres-scheme-for-agri-ventures/article32256635.ece

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