Rs 1-lakh cr Agri Infra Fund to be crucial in enhancing farm sector share in GDP: Farmers’ body
New Delhi: The Rs 1-lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund launched by the government will be crucial in enhancing contribution of the agriculture sector to the country’s GDP, especially at a time when it is expected to add to economic stability amid the coronavirus-induced slowdown, according to farmers’ body FAIFA.
The Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) said the fund will be important for farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, start-ups, agri-tech players and farmer groups looking to boost the country’s agriculture infrastructure.
The federation claims to represent farmers and farm workers of commercial crops across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat.
“Agriculture currently contributes to over 14 per cent of the national GDP and provides livelihood to over 40 per cent of the nation’s workforce. In 2020-21, its contribution towards economic stability is expected to be even higher amid the COVID-19-induced economic slowdown,” FAIFA said in a statement.
This fund will be crucial for farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, start-ups, agri-tech players and farmer groups looking to boost the country’s agriculture infrastructure, it added.
“It will also allow the agriculture sector to help enhance its contributions to the GDP, improve balance of trade, stimulate greater export potential of the farm sector and ensure a stable and prosperous life for farmers by increasing incomes,” the farmers’ body said.
Welcoming the fund, FAIFA President Javare Gowda said, “This will help the farming sector plan medium-to-long term debt financing facilities for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and build community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.”
The fund will catalyse infrastructure development of modern cold storages and cold chain as well as warehouses in villages; it will also provide employment opportunities in rural areas, he added.
“The direct (beneficiary) of this critical infrastructure upgrade of the agriculture sector will be farmers,” FAIFA said.
It added that they will be able to get greater value for their produce, store and sell their crops at appropriate pricing, reduce farm wastage, increase processing time and overall equip a farm-led New India to compete globally.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for agri-entrepreneurs, start-ups, agri-tech players and farmer groups for post-harvest management and nurturing farm assets.