Within two-and-a-half years of the implementation of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), the scheme has mobilised more than Rs.30,000 crore for projects in the agriculture infrastructure sector with a sanctioned amount of Rs.15,000 crore under AIF. With the support of 3 per cent interest subvention, credit guarantee support through CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) for loans of up to Rs.2 crore and facility of convergence with other Central and state government schemes, AIF is providing all-around financial support to the farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer groups like farmer producer organisations (FPOs), self-help groups (SHGs), joint liability groups (JLGs) and many others to create post-harvest management infrastructure and build community farming asset throughout the country, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India said today.
Success stories of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
Understanding the demand-supply gap between the need of the consumers and the supply of primary processed vegetables from the farmers, Yogesh CB from Mandya district of Karnataka was looking to set up a primary processing centre for vegetables. While looking for the support available from the government, he came across the AIF scheme in the year 2020. He applied for a loan of Rs.1.9 crore on AIF portal, which got verified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and sanctioned by Bank of India in December 2020. He was able to ground his vision with the help of AIF and Ariant Veg came into the existence. Through the interest subvention provided under AIF, he was able to secure the finance at an effective rate of interest (RoI) of just 5.45 per cent which is much lower than the open market rate. At present, Ariant Veg supports more than 250 local farmers by providing them with seeds and the technology to grow quality vegetables, then they collect the yield from the farmers at a fair price which is then cleaned, sorted, graded, and packed in the processing centre before reaching to the end consumer on a daily basis.
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Similarly, Anand Patel, a farmer from Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh realised the importance and need for mechanisation in agriculture, especially for small and marginal farmers for whom agriculture machinery is not affordable. He then established a hi-tech hub where agricultural machineries are provided on a rental basis to the local farmers. This hi-tech hub has 12 farm machinery including combine harvester, thresher, laser land leveller, tractors, zero till seed cum fertiliser drill and mulcher that costs around Rs. 60.82 lakhs which seemed a lot for a farmer like Patel. But through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and its feature of convergence with other Central and state government schemes, Patel was not only able to secure a loan of Rs. 45.62 lakhs at an interest rate of 5.4 per cent but also got the benefit of a capital subsidy of 40 per cent of the total project cost under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM) scheme of MoA&FW. Now he is providing services of these machines to more than 100 small and marginal farmers which helped them in saving a lot of effort, time and money.
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Yogesh and Anand are two of more than 20,000 beneficiaries of AIF, whose dream to diversify their profile and take a forward leap in agricultural development has come true through AIF support. AIF is silently changing the landscape of Indian agriculture through the creation and modernisation of much-needed agriculture infrastructure. These infrastructure projects are helping in reducing post-harvest losses, modernising agriculture packages and practices and moreover helping farmers in better price realisation of their produce.
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a financing facility launched on July 8, 2020, for the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farm assets. Under this scheme, Rs 1 lakh crore is to be disbursed by the financial year 2025-26 and the interest subvention and credit guarantee assistance will be given till the year 2032-33. In order to create awareness about AIF amongst various stakeholders, MoA&FW has been organising multiple conclaves and workshops.
Source: All success stories are provided by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
Photograph: Representational image from the archive