Shah urges ARDBs to extend long-term loans to agriculture sector

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The Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has suggested the Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) for extending more long-term loans to the agriculture sector. This includes lending to also irrigation projects and other infrastructure. On Saturday, he said the cooperative banks should focus on giving loans to increase the irrigated land in the country.

While addressing a national conference, Shah said to overcome the challenges of small farm holdings, the minister asked cooperative banks to think about how to operate such small farm fields with a cooperative spirit, as reported by PTI.

Shah further said in the conference that “If we look back and see the last 90 years’ journey of long-term financing through cooperatives and how it has percolated down, if you see the data, it has not grown.”

He pointed out that the country has 49.4 crore acres of agricultural land which is the highest after the US. He added, that if the entire farmland is irrigated, India can feed the whole world.

Shah also took note of many hurdles in long-term financing and suggested that the time has come to overcome them with a cooperative spirit. Additionally, he said that cooperative banks should not function as banks alone, but focus on other cooperative activities such as setting up Agri infrastructure like irrigation.

On Friday, a two-day National Conference of Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers of the States, organized by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in coordination with the Government of Karnataka, concluded successfully in Bengaluru

During the conference, consultations were held with the State Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers and senior Agriculture officers to facilitate the Central Government to develop a roadmap and smooth action plan for effective implementation of all the schemes in the interest of the farming community. The conference also deliberated upon the International Year of Millets – 2023 to be observed in the next year. Keeping in view the importance of Nutritious Cereals, the States agreed to increase their production and area, as well as promote the processing, value addition, and marketing of nutritious cereals, taking all possible steps along with the Central Government.

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar said that compared to other sectors, Agriculture performed positively during the Covid pandemic due to specific interventions of the Central Government such as the uninterrupted relaxation given to agricultural works and the running of Kisan Rail benefitted the Agriculture sector and farmers.

Tomar emphasized that there is a need to focus our attention on better implementation of the policies and programmes of the Government of India in coordination with the State Governments. This includes effective implementation of the Digital Agriculture Mission, promotion of FPOs, development of a better trade mechanism of agricultural produce through e-NAM, and making the best use of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for the development of infrastructure in rural areas.

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