THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Group farming initiatives led by Kudumbashree have crossed a major milestone with more than 28,500 hectares being brought under cultivation in the state.
This includes 7,806 hectares under paddy cultivation, 5,947 hectares used for vegetable farming and 5,260 hectares comprising banana plantations.
A record R310 crore has been disbursed by various banks as loans to 51,574 units engaged in farming. It is for the first time that the Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) of Kudumbashree, which are engaged in farming, were provided such a large amount as loans. The goal of Kudumbashree is to increase the loan disbursal to R400 crore by the end of this fiscal year.
During Onam season, 53,384 JLGs were active in farming. Out of these, 18,542 JLGs took loans to the tune of R266 crore. Since then, another 3,373 JLGs have taken up farming, increasing the loans by another R44 crore.
It is to be noted that during the same period in the previous fiscal, only R250 crore were taken as loans by JLGs, which shows the increase in farming initiatives this year, a release from Kudumbashree said.
Banks provide loans starting from R1 lakh to JLGs in each fiscal. A period of one year is given for the repayment of the loan. Though the interest rate ranges from 7 to 9 per cent, a 5 per cent interest subsidy is provided.
Banks also provide a waiver of interest to those groups who make prompt repayments. In effect, the loans can be interest-free if repaid properly. Incentives are also given to the JLGs on the basis of their produce.
Kudumbashree has launched the farming initiative in the state under the Union government’s Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana. The objective of the programme is to increase the involvement of women in farming and help them earn a livelihood through environment-friendly practices such as organic farming.
The fields expand
A record Rs 310 crore has been disbursed by various banks as loans to 51,574 farming units. It is for the first time the Joint Liability Groups of Kudumbashree, engaged in farming, were provided such a large amount as loans.