New short-term credit scheme for farmers in Kerala

Loan, at 6.4% interest rate for one year, is only for agricultural purposes

The Ministry of Agriculture has come up with a short-term credit scheme for farmers who require funds to complete pending agricultural activities. All primary cooperative credit societies and the Kerala Gramin Bank will extend the loan support. The scheme is likely to be introduced next week.

Officials of the department say the scheme will be available only for agricultural purpose for a period of one year. The interest rate has been fixed at 6.4%, which is lower than that of such schemes in the public and private sector banks. Farmers may contact Krishi Bhavans for assistance.

Crop insurance schemes will be promoted among more farmers to deal with unexpected crop loss during the monsoon season. The comprehensive risk insurance policy will cover yield losses due to flood, pests, landslips, lightning, storm, hailstorm, and cyclone. Post-harvest losses within the specified period are also covered under the scheme, officials say.

Farmers’ demand

Meanwhile, the leading farmers’ organisations in the district have called for a reasonable hike in the credit limit considering the COVID-19 crisis and the difficulties in marketing the agriculture produce. The ₹3-lakh limit fixed on most of the low-interest credit schemes will not be a reasonable aid for farmers who have already ventured into large-scale farming on leased land, they say.

The office-bearers add that compensation for those who lost crops in wild-animal attack or natural calamities was yet to be processed in many villages. The department’s call for the online submission of such grievances is proving to be difficult for many farmers who have no access to digital devices, they claim.

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