Interest-free loan scheme to boost organic farming

KANNUR: In a bid to provide pesticide-free food products to consumers and utilize more fallow land, the Kudumbashree Mission is embarking on a major project to provide interest-free loan to farmers, especially those interested in organic farming.

The project, to be implemented with the support of the central government’s Mahila Kisan Saktheekaran Pariyojana, Nabard and the department of agriculture aims to provide loans to joint liability groups (JLG) involved in agriculture. This could write a new chapter in our efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in agriculture and help bring pesticide-free products to the market, said the mission’s district coordinator M V Premarajan.

“Though we can’t claim that we promote 100% organic farming, as in some cases they are allowed to use chemical fertilizers, we can assure that the products, including rice, vegetables and tubers are 100% pesticide-free because Kudumbashree ensures that only organic pesticides and fungicides are used in farming,” he said.

Under this scheme, Canara Bank provides loan at the rate of 7%, of which Kudumbashree pays 5% interest, while the remaining 2% is given by Nabard. Land for the purpose will have to be identified by the JLGs themselves and taken on lease.

The official said a JLG group would get a loan of Rs 1-3 lakh and a total of Rs 10 crore will be distributed in the district this year. They will also get area and production incentives, apart from Rs 20,000 to market the product.

Since Kudumbashree officials from the Community Development Societies ( CDS) to the district mission are involved in the process, administrative bottlenecks in providing the loan will be reduced to a great extent, said officials. There are 1,000 JLGs in the district and each group has five members, which means 5,000 women will directly benefit from the scheme.

Apart from women empowerment, the project will help utilize barren lands for agriculture, thus improving the agriculture productivity of the state, said officials, who added that experts from Agriculture University and the department of agriculture will train people under the scheme.

Source: TOI

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