Coimbatore district that is known for its industrial activity, especially the presence of thousands of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), has potential for higher agricultural credit extension.
The potential-linked credit plan for 2013-2014, released by District Collector M. Karunagaran recently, estimates credit to grow at 29 per cent next year compared to the current year (2012-2013). The potential for credit is expected to be Rs. 8311.96 crore. Of this, 42 per cent is the demand potential from the agricultural sector, 41 per cent from the MSME sector and 17 per cent from other priority sectors. Plantation and horticulture crops, poultry, storage facilities, market yards, and farm mechanisation are some of the areas that will have demand for more loans.
Explaining the reason for estimating higher outlay for the agricultural sector, R. Inigo Arul Selvan, district development manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), told The Hindu that the district had huge potential for investments in agriculture.
It had over 70,000 hectares under coconut, large area under banana and several horticultural crops.
The NABARD had introduced a scheme through which farmers could form a group and take loan for marketing, infrastructure creation or mechanisation.
The NABARD provided loan-cum-grant to eligible groups. It was in the process of collecting applications in the district for this. Farmers could take loans for improving infrastructure.
J. Vanangamudi, the district lead bank manager, said the potential-linked credit plan gave guidance to the bankers on the potential demand for credit in the district.
The annual credit plan target would be released later this month. Usually, short-term credit (which is repaid in 15 months) was given for crop and gold loans. Long-term loans were given for farm development, irrigation, horticulture, mechanisation, etc.
Thus, the long-term credit improved the permanent agricultural infrastructure. This was the thrust area identified in the district this year and hence, the potential-linked credit plan suggested higher credit outlay for the farm sector.
The deficient rainfall in the district this year had affected farmers and the bank branches had been asked to restructure agricultural loans if there were specific requirements. The sector required more financial support now, he said.