SAMBALPUR: Resentment is brewing among farmers of the district over marginal increase in credit limit of crop loans for kharif season.
While the State Government revises the credit limit of crop loans once in five years, the last time it was revised was in 2014 and was fixed at Rs 28,000 per acre. This year, it has been increased to Rs 30,000 per acre. Last year, 33,556 farmers were provided loans amounting to Rs 268 crore.
However, the process for sanctioning crop loans for Kharif season is going on at a snail’s pace due to delay in harvesting and procurement of rabi paddy. As the procurement of rabi crops is in the last phase, farmers are getting ready for the cultivation of Kharif paddy.
Every year, farmers usually get crop loans through their cooperative societies between April and September. While the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies is the sanctioning authority, block-level cooperative societies hand over the loans to the registered farmers.
As per the guidelines, the amount of credit to be sanctioned per acre is revised once in five years. Considering the rising inflation and cost of fertilisers, the Government should fix the credit at a higher limit. But there has been a hike of only Rs 2,000 which is too meagre to manage the agriculture expenditure, alleged farmers.
Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan convenor Ashok Pradhan said with the present rate of inflation and changing farming practices which need more inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides, reviewing the rate once in five years is too long a period. The Government should review the credit limit once in every two years, he suggested.
Another limitation of the crop loan is that it is primarily sanctioned for land holdings up to five acres. But farmers do not get the actual loan amount meant for five acres. The sanctioning authorities make the excuse that the maximum amount of loan should be availed by marginal farmers with fewer land holdings. Though there is a provision to avail loans for farmers having more than five acres, the documentation and procedure for applying are complex, he said.
Slow procurement leaves paddy growers worried
Farmers of Kalahandi are a worried lot. With monsoon approaching and paddy procurement getting delayed, they fear their harvest may be damaged in the rains.
Procurement of rabi paddy in the district was delayed by a fortnight due to reluctance of custom millers in participating in the process till payment of their outstanding paddy maintenance charges. Sale of paddy, which was to begin on May 5, started on May 16.
Then labourers threatened not to load and unload paddy from procurement centres demanding hike of daily wage. While the agitations slowed down procurement, paddy stocks suffered damage due to the recent heavy rains.
Adding to their woes, the State Government is yet to finalise its total rabi paddy procurement target for Kalahandi district. As against surplus production of 30 lakh quintal paddy, Government has so far set target to procure 17.64 lakh quintal in three phases.