Rs 1-lakh cr Agri Infra Fund to be crucial in enhancing farm sector share in GDP: Farmers’ body

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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.





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