BANGALORE: The Department of Agriculture plans to extend the benefits of “hire-service centres” in 17 more districts across the state. This scheme was implemented in Bidar, Raichur, Chitradurga, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Mandya, Koppal, Tumkur, Bellary, Davangere, Kolar, Bagalkote and Bangalore Rural to help small and marginal farmer Under this scheme, farmers can hire tractors, farm machineries and other hi-tech equipment on rental basis at an affordable price and avoid investing on new equipment.
In the current year’s agriculture budget, a sum of Rs 50 crore was proposed for opening 500 more hire service centres each at a cost of Rs 10 lakh through selected registered cooperative societies.
During 2011-12, 660 hire service centres were set up in the state. Each was for a cluster of 10 villages for providing agricultural benefits to farmers under Rashtriya Kriya Yojana.
“This is in an extension of service made available to the farmers. Agriculture being labour intensive and with the recent phenomenon of scarcity and high cost of labour, this service will be a most viable option for farmers on a long run,” said Director of the Department of Agriculture K V Sarvesh.
Agriculture experts describe the decision as a positive move by the government. At present, many farmers do not receive the real benefit of subsidies and are forced to depend on money lenders to purchase farm equipment.
“The cost of the farm equipment will be divided based on the number of farmers in the group. Larger the member the greater the benefit. With the current scheme, close to 10-15 members in each cluster seem to have benefited,” Sarvesh added.
Speaking about the benefits of the scheme, Former Chairman of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board Prof M Mahadevappa said that the state government’s move will help the farmers to produce without feeling the financial burden. Also, they would be benefited through subsidies.
“Around 90 per cent of the farmers were not getting the benefit of subsidies. If the scheme is implemented properly and 20 per cent of the farmers use this service, it will be set a positive trend.”
This will not only encourage small and marginal farmers but will help self help groups and contract farmers, he added.