No farmer in Gujarat gained from Centre-sponsored scheme in 2 yrs
To meet to farmers’ need of quality seeds at affordable rates, the Centre in 2014 had launched the Seed Village Programme (Beej Gram Yojana).
AHMEDABAD: It is sowing time in Gujarat as the monsoon is setting in. Farmers are looking for quality seeds at affordable costs. However, hardly a single farmer has benefited from the Seed Village Programme or Beej Gram Yojana in the last two years as no fund was released by the Central government in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
On the one hand, it is alleged that farmers are being duped into purchasing duplicate seeds. To meet to farmers’ need of quality seeds at affordable rates, the Centre in 2014 had launched the Seed Village Programme (Beej Gram Yojana). Under this scheme, financial assistance for distribution of foundation/certified seeds at 50 per cent of seed cost for cereal crops and 60 per cent for pulses, oilseeds, fodder and green manure crops is available for up to one acre per farmer.
When Beej Gram Yojana was first started in 2014, 11,052 farmers in the state profited from it. Next year, as many as 1,223 farmers benefited. No farmer gained from the programme in 2016 or 2017, according to government statistics.
The government provided benefits to 1,849 farmers in 2018 and 7,301 farmers in 2019, and 15,984 farmers in 2020. But no farmer in Gujarat has benefited from this programme in 2021 and 2022. In response to a question from MP Upendrasinh Rawat in the Lok Sabha on March 21, 2023, the government admitted that in 2020-21 the central government provided fund for the scheme totaling Rs 156.30 lakh, which were fully utilised, after which no fund was released by the government in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Gujarat Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel did not respond to queries on Beej Gram Yojana.
Gujarat Congress Farmer Cell President Pal Ambliya told TNIE, “The centre has started the Beej Gram Scheme to encourage farmers to conduct seed research in their fields by providing them with tools and financial assistance. The state agriculture department is required to submit a proposal to the central department."