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Indian farmers need structured solutions: Agri expert

Jan 14, 2014

L P Semwal, Chairman of Uttarakhand based nonprofit, said that Indian farmers need structured solutions in the form of feasible financing and not subsidies.

New Delhi: Banking and agri-experts at a roundtable meet in Delhi called for the change in mindset towards the Indian farmer. Most of the speakers were of the opinion that the real empowerment of an agriculturist in India is possible by giving him an easy access to credit and not by freebies such as subsidies.

L P Semwal, Chairman, Shri Jagdamba Samiti, said that Indian farmers have always been offered patching solutions. He was speaking at the roundtable meet, ‘Financing for Sustainable Agriculture’, organised by the Uttarakhand-based Shri Jagdamba Samiti (SJS) along with OneWorld.

“We should stop looking at our farmers with pity. Both the government and banks have offered only patching solutions to the Indian farmer while the need is for the structured solution in the form of feasible financing,” he said.

Semwal said that there was utter lack of feasibility in most of the schemes rolled by the banks for the farmers. “Most of the loan financing is used by the hapless farmer for his consumption instead of making profit out of it,” he explained.

Semwal regretted the unhealthy mindset towards the farming sector in the country as most of the farming practices according to him are sponsored and subsidised and does not augur well for the prosperity of farmers in the long run. Farming has always been subsidised and has never been looked up as a business opportunity, he said.

Naimur Rahman, Member, Board of Directors, OneWorld Foundation India, and Chief Operations Officer, ANSA South Asia and Global, said that farmers’ access to credit in India is absolutely problematic. Despite agriculture being a priority lending sector, there seems to be a ‘disconnect’ between farmers and the banks, he said.

Stressing on the need for enabling access to credit for the Indian farmer, Naimur said that the latter is very efficient in risk mitigation. According to Naimur, the Indian farmer is a perfect example of risk mitigation and resonance.

Sitanshu Swain, Asia Pacific Editor, Asia Insurance Post and Former Banking Editor, The Financial Express, a leading business daily, said that flooding market with money is not a solution to the problem of farmers. “Farmers in India are focusing on short term benefits and not long term benefits,” he stated.

Ved Mathur, Deputy General Manager, Punjab National Bank, said that there are several schemes catering to the interest of farmers. “It is much easier for farmers to avail loans in the present times. But they should take the loans according to their specific requirements,” he suggested. Talking about farmer suicides due to financial reasons, Mathur said that farmers should go for crop insurance to ward of unforeseen risks.

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