Agri Infra Fund silently changing agriculture landscape
Within two-and-a-half years of the implementation of the AIF, the scheme has mobilized more than Rs 30,000 crore for projects in the agriculture infrastructure sector with a sanctioned amount of Rs 15,000 crore under AIF. With the support of 3 per cent interest subvention, a credit guarantee support through CGTMSE for loans of up to Rs 2 crore and the facility of convergence with other Central and State Government schemes, AIF is providing all-around financial support to the farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer groups, etc.
Within two-and-a-half years of the implementation of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), the scheme has mobilized more than Rs 30,000 crore for projects in the agriculture infrastructure sector with a sanctioned amount of Rs 15,000 crore under AIF.
With the support of 3 per cent interest subvention, a credit guarantee support through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for loans of up to Rs 2 crore and the facility of convergence with other Central and State Government schemes, AIF is providing all-around financial support to the farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer groups like Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups (JLGs), etc. to create post-harvest management infrastructure and build community farming assets throughout the country.
Understanding the demand-supply gap between the needs of the consumers and the supply of primary processed vegetables from the farmers, Yogesh CB from Mandya district of Karnataka was looking to set up a primary processing centre for vegetables, says an official release, narrating a success story.
While looking for the support available from the Government, Yogesh came across the AIF scheme in 2020. He applied for a loan of Rs 1.9 crore on AIF portal, which was verified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) and sanctioned by Bank of India very quickly in December 2020.
He was able to give shape to his vision with the help of AIF and Ariant Veg Pvt. Ltd soon came into existence. Through the interest subvention provided under AIF, he was able to secure the finance at an effective Rate of Interest (RoI) of just 5.45 per cent, which is much lower than the open market rate.
At present, Ariant Veg supports more than 250 local farmers by providing them seeds and the technology to grow quality vegetables and collecting the yield from the farmers at a fair price. The crop is subsequently cleaned, sorted, graded, and packed in the processing centre before reaching the end consumer on a daily basis.
Similarly, Anand Patel, a farmer from Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh realized the importance and need for mechanization in agriculture, especially for small and marginal farmers for whom agriculture machines are not affordable.
He then established a hi-tech hub where agriculture machines are provided on a rental basis to the local farmers. This hi-tech hub has 12 pieces of farm machinery, including combine harvester, thresher, laser land leveller, tractors, zero-till seed-cum-fertilizer drill, and mulcher, that cost around Rs 60.82 lakh, which seemed to be a big amount for a farmer like Patel.
But through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and its unique feature of convergence with other Central Government and State Government schemes, Patel was not only able to secure a loan of Rs 45.62 lakh at an interest rate of just 5.4 per cent but he also got the benefit of capital subsidy of 40 per cent of the total project cost under the Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanisation (SMAM) scheme of MoA&FW.
He is now providing services of these machines to more than 100 small and marginal farmers that helped them in saving a lot of effort, time and money.
Yogesh and Anand are among the 20,000 beneficiaries of AIF, whose dream to diversify their profile and take a forward leap in agricultural development has come true through the support from this fund.
AIF is silently changing the landscape of Indian agriculture through the creation and modernization of the much-needed agriculture infrastructure. These infrastructure projects are helping in reducing post-harvest losses, modernizing agriculture packages and practices and helping farmers in better price realization of their produce.
AIF is a financing facility launched on 8 July 2020 under the visionary guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farm assets.
Under this scheme, Rs 1 lakh crore is to be disbursed by the financial year 2025-26 and the interest subvention and credit guarantee assistance will be given till the year 2032-33.
In order to create awareness about AIF amongst various stakeholders, the MoA&FW has been organizing multiple conclaves and workshops across the country.