Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare is running a one-month-long NOBOL (Nationwide One Branch One Loan) special campaign for banks from July 15 to August 14 2022. While launching this special campaign, Samuel Praveen Kumar, Joint Secretary, MoA&FW informed that all bank branches are being encouraged to actively participate in this special campaign by sanctioning at least one loan per branch during the campaign period since this is meant for a noble cause of nation building.
He further informed that through workshops and seminars with banks’ head offices, regional offices and branches and directly with the customers, awareness on the objectives and benefits under the AIF scheme is being created. Samuel Praveen Kumar expressed hope that the target amount for sanction of Rs 4000 crores would be achieved during the campaign period.
What could be financed under AIF?
This scheme, launched by the Prime Minister on August 9, 2020, is with an objective to provide finance of Rs 100,000 crore for the creation of farm-gate infrastructure and affordable credit for viable post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support. This scheme encourages organic inputs, bio-stimulant production units, intelligent and precision agriculture projects, farm/harvest automation, purchase of drones, sensors on the field, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in agriculture, remote sensing and Internet of Things (IoT). Under post-harvest management, it encourages the construction of warehouses, cold chains, silos, packaging units, assaying units, sorting and grading units, primary processing centres, ripening chambers and supply chain services including e-marketing platforms.
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Who can avail of the benefits of AIF?
Beneficiaries of the AIF scheme include farmers, entrepreneurs, primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmers producer organisations (FPOs), startups, Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) among other stakeholders in the agriculture sector. Lending institutions include all banks in the public and private sector and cooperative sector, small finance banks and NBFCs.
What benefits one can avail of AIF?
Three per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee coverage is available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for loans up to ₹2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years. In the case of loans beyond ₹2 crores, interest subvention will be limited up to ₹2 crores. The interest rate for the loan should not exceed the cap fixed at nine per cent. The fee for credit guarantee coverage is being reimbursed by the government. The benefits of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund can be converged with the benefits available under other schemes of Central or state governments.
In order to popularise the AIF scheme and mobilise new projects, state-level conclaves are being organised in coordination with state governments, banks and other stakeholders. Such conclaves were conducted recently in Kerala, Telangana and Karnataka and plans are afoot to cover other states also in the near future.
As of now, over 24,000 applications lodged on AIF Portal for 13,400 projects worth Rs 16,000 crores. Rs 9,855 crore has been sanctioned by the banks under AIF to date. The whole flow of the process from application to sanction to transfer of benefits is being done online in the integrated portal of the scheme, www.agriinfra.dac.goc.in.
Theme Photo: APEDA