TAMIL NADU

NAFED tie-up for increasing farm production

Agriculture department signs MoU; federation to invest Rs.250 crores

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: : The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) will invest Rs.250 crores in the State over a five-year period to increase agricultural production and productivity, besides ensuring augmentation of farmers' income.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed between the NAFED and the State Agriculture department in the presence of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa here on Thursday.

An official release said "it is for the first time that NAFED has entered into such an arrangement with any State Government in India," thanks to the "effective long-term programmes" initiated in the State to promote crop diversification with a focus on less water consuming crops such as maize, cotton, oilseeds, pulses, millets, horticulture and Jatropha. "It is in view of the progress made in the overall development of the agriculture sector that NAFED agreed to enter into a partnership with the State Government."

As per the MoU, the Agriculture Department would work on an integrated package encompassing backward and forward linkages which include supply of high-quality seeds and other inputs, enhanced credit against stocks, skill upgradation of farmers, risk-management and development of suitable marketing infrastructure.

Electronic shandies

Contract farming and purchase of commodities directly from farmers by involving farmers' self-help groups would be a key element of the agreement. The NAFED had also agreed to assist in the setting up of electronic `shandies' and large agricultural malls. "Though the initial investment envisaged Rs.250 crores, NAFED has also agreed to further upscale the investment with mutual consent," the release said.

The MoU was signed by Jagmohan Singh Raju, Commissioner Agriculture and Alok Ranjan, Managing Director, NAFED. Among others, Minister for Agriculture K.Pandurangan, Chief Secretary to Government N.Narayanan and Secretary (Agriculture) Leena Nair were present.

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