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Allow farmers to take their own decisions: IFFCO MD

Jun 22, 2015

Building a conducing farming atmosphere is important for reducing a farmer’s dependency on the external factors, opined experts at a summit in New Delhi.

New Delhi:  Allow a farmer to take his own decisions instead of holding his hands at every step, suggested U S Awasthi, MD, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO). He was speaking at the Economic Times Agro Summit in New Delhi on Friday.

He said that farmers in our country are becoming poorer by the day, as there is no perceivable development even after numerous strategic attempts by the Government. “Prices of the crop produced by the farmers are decided by the sellers in the markets. People are bothered about their budgets and not the farmers who produce it,” he said.

Awasthi lamented that only 12.5% of the farmers have been issued the Rupay Kisan Credit Cards (KCC). These cards issued to the farmers by the banks across the country enable them to transact business on ATMs and point-of-sales (PoS) terminals.

Awasthi highlighted the need for knowledge enhancement and skill development. “Handheld devices like mobile phones are used to deliver messages and other relevant information. The use of uriya should be banned as it is destroying the soil. The key enabler of development is to empower the farmer at first,” he said.

Kiran Vedula, Business Head Agri & SME Finance, IndusInd Bank, stated that it is difficult to reach every farmer and impossible to provide every individual loans. “It is a compulsion that 80% of the lending through banks has to be for the agriculture segment. That is why most of the banks have started their agri-lending units,” he said.

According to Vedula, partnership models, business-correspondents model, MFI lending, contract farming, tying up with equipment manufacturers are some of the models that are required to reach out to farmers. “Lending has to be based on the collaterals and not on the networks,” he said.

There is a need for development of warehouses, storage facilities, cold storages at the village level for the development of agriculture sector.

Rajesh Shrivastava, CMD, Rabo Equities, talking about food security, said that it is diversified into three basic terms including affordability, availability and quality. Less production of agri products will result into high prices for consumers, he warned.

Dr Harsh, CMD, NABARD, called for an increase in investments through the private sector. On an average, 80-85% of the investments in agriculture are through banking sector, he said. (With inputs from Subah Chopra)

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