APMCs can access Farmers Infrastructure Funds: Narendra Singh Tomar

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The Agricultural Produce Markets Committees (APMCs) will have access to Rs 1 lakh crore allocated to Farmers Infrastructure Fund, said Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture on Thursday while addressing a press briefing after the first meeting of the new cabinet.

Alleviating fears of farmers, the minister said that APMCs will not be done away with after the implementation of farm laws. Instead they will receive huge funds from the Centre’s Infrastructure fund to strengthen them.

Apart from APMCs the eligibility has also been extended to national and state Federation of Co-operatives, Federation of Farmers Producers Organisations and Federations of Self Help Groups.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced Rs 1 lakh crore for Agricultural Infrastructure Fund under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in August 2020 under which agri-entreprenuers, start-ups, agri-tech players farmer groups were to have access to credit at subsidised interest for building warehouses, cold storages and other facilities to reduce post harvest waste.

At present interest subvention for a loan upto Rs 2 crore in one location is eligible under the scheme. In case, one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will be now be eligible for interest subvention for loan upto Rs 2 crore. However, for a private sector entity there will be a limit of a maximum of 25 such projects. This limitation of 25 projects will not be applicable to state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, federations of FPOs and federation of SHGs.

For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto Rs 2 crore will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types e.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos, et within the same market yard.

The period of financial facility has been extended from 4 to 6 years upto 2025-26 and overall period of the scheme has been extended from 10 to 13 upto 2032-33.

The union cabinet has also decided to amend the Coconut Development Board Act as part of efforts to increase coconut farming. The Coconut Board president will be a non-official person from the farmer community.

“To increase coconut farming, we are amending the Coconut Board Act. The Coconut Board president will be a non-official person. He will be from the farmers’ community, who knows and understands work of the field,” Tomar said.

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