New Delhi: Agriculture credit is growing every year and reached Rs 10 lakh crore last fiscal, the government said on Tuesday while stressing upon the need to increase the flow to small farmers as well as providing loan access to tenant cultivators.
The agriculture ministry will soon bring a proposal before the Cabinet for improving lending to small and marginal farmers based on the recommendations of the Sarangi committee.
"Agriculture credit flow is going up every year. We have achieved the disbursal target of Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017-18 fiscal. The target for the current financial year has been enhanced to Rs 11 lakh crore," said Ashish Kumar Bhutani, joint secretary in Ministry of Agriculture.
On the sidelines of a conference, organised by industry body Ficci, he said disbursing agriculture credit is not a challenge but the challenge is to give it to right farmers. Bhutani said Rs 6.8 lakh crore was short-term crop loans out of Rs 10 lakh crore credit disbursed last fiscal. In the short-term crop loans, he said 50 per cent amount was provided to small and marginal farmers.
He said the ministry has sought data from banks for better targeting of agriculture credit. To provide credit access to lessee cultivators, he said government think tank Niti Aayog is working to find a suitable mechanism.
In his budget speech for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that NITI Aayog, in consultation with state governments, would evolve a suitable mechanism to enable access of lessee cultivators to credit without compromising the rights of the land owners.
"Presently, lessee cultivators are not able to avail crop loans. Consequently, a significant proportion of arable land remains fallow and tenant cultivators are forced to secure credit from usurious money lenders," he had said.
Addressing the conference, Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WRDA) Chairman B B Pattanaik announced that negotiable warehousing receipts would be now issued electronically, helping farmers to get easy bank finance against their stocks.
NABARD Deputy MD R Amalorpavanathan spoke about the need of integrated financing to farmers. He also pointed out that farmers are in distress because their margins have squeezed on account of rising input cost and low realisation.