September 19, 2023

agricultural sector: Amit Shah asks cooperative banks to focus on providing longer-term financing to the agricultural sector

Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) should provide more long-term loans to the agricultural sector, including for irrigation and other infrastructure, Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.

The government is building a database of cooperatives to develop this sector, as it is important for boosting agricultural growth and doubling farmers’ incomes, Shah added. Farmers’ incomes cannot be increased without improving the sector, especially irrigation, he stressed, and urged cooperative banks to focus on providing loans to increase irrigated land.

Shah said the country, which has 49.4 crore acres of arable land, the highest after the United States, has the potential to feed the whole world if all the arable land is irrigated. Currently, about 50% of arable land in India depends on monsoon rains.

Addressing a national conference in New Delhi, Shah said ARDBs have been operating in the country under different names for the past nine decades. Most of them operated as land mortgage banks and were the first to provide long-term finance to farmers as early as 1924. With the conversion of these banks into ARDBs, farmers’ dependence on the monsoon was reduced.

Slowly, long-term financing evolved, he said. “If we look back and see the journey of the last 90 years of long-term finance through co-ops and how it has spread, if you look at the data, it hasn’t increased,” Shah said. “Especially in agriculture financing, whether long term or short term, it is crippled in many parts of the country. In many places the activities are well done, but in some states it is not. They must be revived. »