National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development ( NABARD) on November 25 launched a ''Special Developmental Project'' for farmers which will help them in eliminating their dependency on money lenders.
The said project will also help them in saturating dairy farmers with Kisan Credit Cards (KCC AH) and for other developmental goals for Sikkim state.
Sanjay Kumar Gupta General Manager and Office Incharge NABARD, said, "The project envisages making available credit facility to both member (of MPCS of the State) as well as other dairy farmers (especially small and marginal farmers) of the state, KCC AH in accordance with Gol scheme, in a hassle-free manner with the benefit of prompt repayment incentive; enabling financial inclusion, options of digital transaction & door-step banking facility at MPCS; and strengthening/infrastructure development of the MPCS''.
As per Gupta, the main objectives are fostering the provision of institutional credit to dairy farmers at the prescribed concessional rate of interest, while facilitating the extension of prompt repayment incentive (PRI) where possible, for adequately meeting their working capital requirements, thus enhancing the productivity of the dairy sector.
''This will also lead to the elimination of/reduction in the dependence of dairy farmers on money lenders/informal sources of credit while undertaking dairy activities,'' he added.
In the launching of the project, it was mentioned that Sikkim, though being the second smallest state in the country, has contributed significantly to the ongoing phase of the "White Revolution" in the country.
Meanwhile, Secretary Animal Husbandry Department Dr P Senthil Kumar shared that till date KCC is only for agricultural sector farmers now and with this launch, the Animal Husbandry sector will also be covered under KCC and they can avail of loans up to 3 lakh and it can go up to 10 lakh.
The state currently produces roughly around 230,000 litres of milk per day and it has registered a significant increase in production, in the last few years.
A significant part of this production is procured by the existing network of Milk Producers' Cooperative Societies (MPCS), which is currently around 60,000 litres per day, an increase of about 71 per cent from 2019 (35,000 litre per day).
This increase in the production and procurement of milk can be attributed, mainly to the scheme of the Sikkim government to incentivise dairy farmers to produce and supply milk through the network of milk cooperative societies in the state.
Thus, the dairy sector has, in the recent past, emerged as a lifeline of sorts for the rural economy and farmers of Sikkim, especially women and small and marginal farmers.
As per estimates, about 13,000 farmers of the State currently engaged in dairy activity are connected through the existing network of 600 plus Milk Cooperative Societies/ Collection Centres.
In his address, the Minister, Lok Nath Sharma, underlined the state's organic potential and highlighted the progressive dairy scenario in the state.
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