New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) The government on Friday announced a Rs 1.63 lakh crore package for agriculture and allied sectors aimed at strengthening infrastructure, logistics and capacity building at farm gate.
Announcing the third tranche of an overall package of Rs 20 lakh crore to deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund that will finance projects at farm-gate and aggregation point for efficient post-harvest management of crops.
Besides, schemes for micro food enterprises, cattle vaccination, dairy sector, herbal plantation, beekeeping, and fruits and vegetables were also announced.
She said the government will provide Rs 1 lakh crore for aggregators, farmers producers organisations (FPOs), primary agri cooperative societies, agri entrepreneurs and startups under the agri infrastructure fund.
The fund will be created at the earliest, she said.
Lack of adequate cold chain facilities and post-harvest management infrastructure in the vicinity of farm gates is causing gaps in the value chain, she said.
Sitharaman also announced Rs 10,000 crore fund to support 2 lakh micro food enterprises (MFEs) for promoting health and wellness, herbal, organic and nutritional products.
The government will also launch a Rs 20,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the development of marine and inland fisheries.
Of this, Rs 11,000 crore will be earmarked for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture while Rs 9,000 crore for infrastructure creation such as fishing harbours, cold chain and markets.
This, she said, will provide employment to over 55 lakh persons and double exports to Rs 1 lakh crore.
The Finance Minister said the ongoing National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis will look at 100 per cent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and pigs against FMD at an outlay of Rs 13,343 crore.
Also, a Rs 15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund was announced to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
The government has launched a Rs 4,000 crore fund to promote herbal cultivation in about 10 lakh hectares of area, she said, adding that the scheme will help generate Rs 5,000 crore income for farmers. Along the bank of Ganga, a corridor of medicinal plants will be developed over 800 hectares area.
Another Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for beekeeping initiatives, helping 2 lakh beekeepers.
The government extended Operation Greens from tomato, onion and potato to all fruits and vegetables by providing an additional fund of Rs 500 crore. This money would go into providing subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets as well as on storages including cold storages.
The scheme prevents any distress sale by farmers, she said.