The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will finance a Rs.33.73-crore project for the promotion of integrated rice-fish farming systems in coastal wetlands known as Kaipad in Kannur and Pokkali in central Kerala.
Announcing this, NABARD Chief General Manager (CGM, Kerala and Lakshadweep) Ramesh Tenkil said the project sanctioned under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) envisages integrated farming methods in 300 hectares of Kaipad fields in Kannur and 300 hectares of Pokkali fields in Ernakulam, Thrissur, and Alappuzha.
Talking to The Hindu here on Thursday, he said the project was aimed at introducing climate-smart farming practices. The funds for the four-year project has been sanctioned to the Agency for Development of Aquaculture Kerala (ADAK), which is implementing the project, he said. Strengthening of the outer bunds, paddy cultivation, and maximising inland fishery were the objectives.
Mr. Tenkil said NABARD would also finance rural infrastructure development and livelihood initiatives of the government over the next few years. A total outlay of Rs.1,000 crore has been earmarked for the project, he said. Funds would be released at a nominal 5.5 per cent interest rate.
Under the RIDF scheme, NABARD would sanction 80 per cent of the project cost as loan, he said. The projects discussed at the high power committee meeting participated by the Chief Secretary and other officials would be finalised on the basis of priority, he said.
At the Aralam tribal resettlement area in the erstwhile Aralam Farm, a Rs.60-crore project, including construction of bridges, repair of houses of Adivasis, would be implemented, NABARD CGM said.
This is among the 500 projects, both completed and ongoing, sanctioned under the RIDF in the district. An additional Rs.2 crore, generated from NABARD’s profit, would be released as grant for various livelihood initiatives. The fund would be utilised for promotion of vegetable cultivation, he said.
He said that NABARD was supporting Farmers Producers’ Organisations (FPO) in the State. So far NABARD had proposed to support 107 FPOs in the State. Also in the pipeline were rural marts to bypass middlemen. Mr. Tenkil said NABARD was conducting Organisation Development Initiatives to upgrade the technological efficiency of cooperative banks. As part of this, NABARD conducts 10-day classes for staff and board members of the bank, he added.