BHUBANESWAR: With assurance of financial assistance from the State Government, the Odisha State Cooperative Marketing Federation (Markfed) is planning to scale up its marketing of chemical fertiliser.
The apex cooperative society which did a fertiliser business worth Rs 383 crore during 2013-14 kharif and rabi seasons, has planned to supply fertiliser worth `600 crore during the current financial year. While the fertiliser price is fixed by the Centre, the society retains a margin of 1.5 per cent towards marketing cost.
The State Government has announced to provide financial assistance of Rs 100 crore for creating a corpus to supply fertiliser to the farmers on time. While Rs 75 crore will be given to Markfed, the remaining Rs 25 crore will be for the Odisha Agro Industries Corporation (OAIC) for similar purpose. Sources in the Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production said the State Government will deposit Rs 75 crore in an escrow account to be opened in the Odisha State Cooperative Bank. However, expression of interest (EoI) will be invited from commercial banks to open such an account for OAIC.
“This will be a one time deposit and Markfed will utilise the revolving fund for buying fertiliser,” said general manager (finance) Aswini Kumar Dhal. The fund will be released to the fertiliser companies directly on submission of sale bills. The sale proceeds will be directly deposited in the escrow account in shape of demand draft or bankers’ cheque which would check misutilisation of the fund, he said. The Government assistance has come as a great relief for the federation which had to borrow from commercial banks for timely payment of bills of the fertiliser companies, Dhal said.
With a cumulative loss of Rs 114 crore, the cooperative is in dire need of fresh financial infusion to carry on marketing and distribution of fertiliser. The annual fertiliser transactions by Government agencies is to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore. The Agriculture and Food Production department said the funds will pave way for making profit as they will get discounts by making timely payments to the companies.