BENGALURU: Keen to implement the spirit of co-operation sector, "All for one and one for all," the state government is giving final touches to 'cluster farming" scheme. It is likely to provide comprehensive assistance to small farmers so that they can reduce their input costs and raise their income levels.
The proposed scheme is being formulated to address the woes of small farmers who constitute overwhelming segment of the agriculture sector with very small holdings. These farmers can neither afford to invest on modern farm methods nor is it viable for them.
Farmers would be encouraged to form their own clusters and cultivate their lands collectively. "Each cluster could include about 50 to 60 farmers with a total land holding of about 250 to 300 acres," co-operation minister Bandeppa Kashempur said on Friday.
"The co-operation department would provide interest-free loans for these clusters to purchase tractor, tiller and other farm equipment and agriculture materials. This would bring down the cost of farming for individual farmers.
The government would also provide financial and other assistance in marketing of their produce, setting up of agro-processing units and taking any supplementary activities to raise the income of farmers," Kashempur said.
The ownership of the lands would remain with the farmers and the scheme would only encourage them to take up farming collectively to reduce their cost burden and raise their income.
"Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy would launch the programme within two months. Efforts are on to get Cental assistance for the programme which could bring huge tansformation in the agriculture sector. Union government is providing huge assistance for a similar scheme in Uttarakhand and we are confident of getting similar boost form the Cente," the minister said.
Loan waiver: Fund transfer to banks within 15 days
Co-operative banks have received claims from about 2.30 lakh farmers for farm loan waiver amounting to a total of about D1,050 crore till end of October. The state government has announced farm waiver of D9,448 crore in the co-operative sector. “The state government has already provided the funds for the purpose and the process of transferring the funds to banks would be completed within 15 days,” minister Bandeppa Kashempur said. “The loan waiver announced by the state would cover about 22 lakh farmers. The process for waiving loans availed from nationalised banks would start soon. Process of issuing “debt-free” certificates for farmers would be started within next few days,” he said.