Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday reached out to farmers at Tikrikilla, where at least 288 Producers Groups had gathered to receive cheques amounting to Rs 1.86 crore.

Distributing the cheques at a public programme, which saw the participation of Producers Groups, Self Help Groups and Cooperative Societies, the Chief Minister reiterated the Government’s ambitious farmers collectivisation programme – FOCUS, that aims to revolutionize farming activities linked to income generations.

“As a Government, we realised that our farming communities in the State were left out, which called for launching various welfare initiatives for the farmers. Through our programmes, we are providing support, financial assistance and market linkage, so as to upscale farming activities”, he said.

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The Government has rolled out the FOCUS programme in the State and by March this year ?17.28 cr will be disbursed to about 1650 Producers Groups and by the end of the financial year, 2022-23 another ?130 cr will be disbursed to about 16,800 producers groups.

‘FOCUS’, which is dubbed as the largest farmers welfare programme in the history of Meghalaya, the State which has declared December 1 as “Farmers Day”, envisages reaching out to at least 4.5 lakh farmers with different welfare schemes.

He told the gathering that under FOCUS ?200 cr has been earmarked for the current financial year, which is being disbursed to farmers across the State as financial support.

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Apart from FOCUS, the State Government is supporting on a mission mode farmers through programmes like Dairy and Piggery Mission, wherein interest-free loans are provided to Cooperative Societies as well as financial support to Self Help Groups from National Rural Livelihood Missions.

In the last three months, Community Investment Funds to the tune of ?120 cr has been disbursed. In today’s programme at Tikrikilla, the Chief Minister distributed interest-free bank loans worth ?29 lakhs and Community Investment Funds of ?21 lakhs to women-led SHGs.  

“Our commitment to spur women empowerment and their entrepreneurial dreams is testament to the burgeoning SHGs Movement in the State,” he added.

“Understanding people’s issues at the grassroots and ensuring they are heard allows us to make better decisions to their advantage and MDA is committed to this end,” the Chief Minister added.

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