Nagaland agriculture production commissioner Y Kikheto Sema urged the Centre to simplify the procedure to avail loans under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) and direct the banks to come forward to help the farmers and entrepreneurs in the state.

He said although the Government of India has allocated funds under AIF where credit guarantee coverage is available for eligible borrowers up to Rs 2 crore with interest subvention of 3% per annum, the banks are shying away from giving loans primarily due to issues of mortgage of landed properties.

He apprised this to the additional secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Vivek Aggarwal at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. He also met other senior officials of the ministry and discussed various issues pertaining to the development of the agriculture sector in the state.

Sema said there is a huge requirement of post-harvest management infrastructure in the state such as cold storage, pack houses, marketing facilities in the district headquarters and towns, transportation of agricultural produce etc., which can also extend services to farmers, farmer producer organizations (FPOs), entrepreneurs, self-help groups and the community under the AIF.

Aggarwal assured to look into it personally and advised Sema to identify genuine potential entrepreneurs, farmers and FPOs for viable projects, who will be willing to repay the loan to the banks.

Sema also requested Aggarwal for early sanction of Digital Agriculture Mission for the state. Aggarwal assured to consider it within this month.

During his meeting with Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana additional secretary Prasanta Swain on the day, Sema requested him to consider the enhanced allocation of Action Plan both under ‘Other Interventions and Micro Irrigation’ since the food security can be assured only through water security by the creation of water bodies, ponds and channels.

Apprising Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) joint secretary Chhavi Jha on RKVY implementation in the state, Sema urged her to consider supporting the new and innovative programme on “Naga Model of Integrated Settled Farming” as a major component under RKVY for sustainability and ecological services, where all the Agri and allied departments can participate in a single cluster like that of business enterprise.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com