BENGALURU: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in collaboration with Bengaluru and Dharwad centres of University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) has come up with an integrated farming model wherein farmers can get regular income even during drought. This is to help farmers in distress and reduce farmer suicides.
The integrated farming model entails setting up smaller parallel businesses like poultry, pisciculture, aquaculture, fisheries, shrimp farming, and similar things on farm lands, which can continue even during periods of drought to ensure steady income when regular crops fail.
Launched last year, it is gaining popularity, especially in Karnataka, and many farmers are opting for this model, said M I Ganagi, chief general manager, NABARD (Karnataka Regional Office). Depending on climatic and geographical status, UAS has come up with various models like sericulture, fishing, growing vegetables, sheep rearing, bee keeping, poultry, rearing dairy animals, and many more.
Integrated model of any two or more of the above mentioned activities can be taken up for continuous income.
NABARD, which is an apex development financial institution, does not lend loan directly to farmers, but they lend through banks and cooperative societies.
Assistant general manager, NABARD, Vasanth Kumar told The New Indian Express that loans will be given to farmers based on the crops they grow and the models they choose. "The same has been instructed to the banks. Farmers, depending on the land available and their capacity to take up various models, can avail loans. We are taking help from NGOs to reach out to farmers,'' he said.
The idea is to reduce the distress of farmers who largely depend on rain. During drought, with these supportive models, farmers need not panic as there will be continuous flow of income, he said. This doubling of farmers' income is gaining popularity.
"We do not have the exact number of beneficiaries availing loan under this as NABARD does not deliver loans directly. Each bank is given a set of farmers. For instance, Karnataka Grameena Vikas Bank recently disbursed `2 lakh each to 500 farmers," Kumar said.
On refinance disbursement to banks and cooperative societies, Ganagi said Karnataka stood first in India. NABARD also undertook water conservation campaigns in 6,072 villages from seven districts.
On digitalisation of self help groups, so far close to one lakh in Karnataka have been covered. Five districts have been selected for this.