“Farmers investing heavily on short-term crops”

R. Sairam

MADURAI: Farmers in the district are investing heavily on short-term crops. Loans for farm activities accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the advances given for agriculture and allied operations in the last fiscal, according to the Annual Credit Plan 2008-09 of Madurai.

“Farmers have to invest in infrastructure, irrigation, land development and farm mechanisation, the measures that would increase their yield in long term and cut down on expenditure,” Assistant General Manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) R. Srinivasan, told The Hindu here on Sunday.

Part of an annual exercise, the ACP covers all government, private, cooperative banks and other financial institutions and is placed before District Consultative Committee, chaired by the Collector. Of the total Rs. 1,275.73 crore given as loans to priority sectors in the district, Rs. 771 crore was for agriculture and allied activities, according to the ACP. Short-term crop loans accounted for Rs. 613 crore and were usually obtained for crops such as paddy, cotton, banana and sugarcane.

Bankers would also tend to promote short-term loans, as recovery prospects were better and quick.

While loans for paddy and cotton crops would be usually repaid in three to four months, loans for banana are repaid in about a year and sugarcane in about 12 to 15 months.

Long-term loan

A sum of Rs. 158 crore was obtained as long-term loans. Of this, Rs. 109 crore was spent on wells, water harvesting structures, minor irrigation projects, land development, tractor purchases and horticulture. A sum of Rs. 49 crore was spent on farm-related activities such as dairy, poultry, goat and sheep rearing, according to data from ACP.

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