Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9th August 2020 launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) with financing facility of Rs.1 lakh crore in virtual mode. During the programme he also interacted with Arvind Bhai Tagadia, Chairman of Shree Sanathali Juth Seva Sahakari Mandli Ltd., (affiliated to Rajkot DCB), one of three PACS selected from across the country for interaction with the PM.
Speaking during the launch of the Fund, Prime Minister highlighted that the said scheme would enable convergence of benefits under various programmes, improve storage & post-harvest management and link markets to farmers at the farm-gate.
The credit facility available under AIF during 2020-21 is Rs.10000 crore and an amount of Rs. 30000 crore shall be available during the next three years each. The AIF would also act towards enabling financial credit flow at reasonable rate of interest to farmers & farmers’ institutions for building agri infrastructure at farm level.
Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of State, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GoI attended the launch programme from NABARD Regional Office in Gujarat. Speaking on the occasion, he expressed that the farmers, PACS, FPO & farmers’ organisations would come forward to avail of loans from the banking sector under the AIF.
Setting-up of agriculture infrastructure would go a long way in not only minimizing post-harvest crop losses but also provide the choice to farmers with respect to marketing of their produce, particularly, quantity, time & price. He stressed on the need for convergence between the AIF & State Government programmes for making various facilities available to farmers.
Rupala also handed over the ‘in-principle’ approval letter for creation of infrastructure in 151 PACS of the State under NABARD’s PACS as MSC Programme to Pradip Vora, CEO, GStCB. Highlighting the benefits of NABARD’s PACS as MSCs (Multi Service Centres) programme, D.K. Mishra, CGM, NABARD, Gujarat, further explained that the programme enabled support to PACS for a wide range of activities. The programme shall also be covered under the AIF for post-harvest management related activities.
Citing example of Shree Sanathali Juth Seva Sahakari Mandli Ltd., Rajkot, CGM, NABARD said that the said PACS proposes to take up activities such as agro storage, agri information/ service, consumer store, etc., under the PACS as MSC programme.
The function organized at NABARD RO, Ahmedabad, was also graced by the presence of R.C. Faldu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development & Transport, GoG, Jayeshkumar Radadiya, Minister of Food & Civil Supplies, & Consumer Affairs GoG & Dileep Sanghani, Chairman, NAFSCOB.
Such initiatives of Govt. of India & NABARD would enable to not only help farmers to realize improved prices and the larger goal of ‘Doubling of Farmers’ Income’ but also help to improve sustainability of agricultural operations & make them more ‘atmanirbhar’.