Delay in renewal of crop loans set to hamper kharif operations

By TheHindu on 11 Mar 2017

The delay in arranging institutional credit by renewing crop loan accounts, particularly those of about 35.3-lakh farmers covered under the crop loan waiver scheme, is likely to undo the preparedness of the State Government in terms of seed and fertilizer for kharif cultivation as the farming activity is about to gallop with the forecast of monsoon entering Telangana in a day or two.

Although the Agriculture Department has not announced its action plan formally for the kharif yet, official sources stated that plans are afoot to cover an extent of 43.43-lakh hectares during the season. “Sufficient quantities of subsidised seed and fertilizer have been positioned at sales points already and farmers in some areas have already purchased about 60,000 quintals of various seed,” a senior official told The Hindu.

However, the disbursement of institutional credit is yet to gain momentum as the banks are stated to be reluctant to renew crop loans accounts mandatory for issuance of fresh loan until they receive the third instalment of crop loan waiver amount, since most of the short term agricultural credit accounts with them belonged to those covered under the scheme. “We have sent the necessary proposal to the government soon after the budget session seeking release of Rs.4,250 crore to banks for adjusting the third instalment of loan waiver. However, we are yet to hear anything on it so far. The government would generally adjust such amounts by looking into its ways and means,” the official explained adding that the banks have renewed crop loan accounts of over 1.25 lakh farmers, who are not covered under waiver.

For record, the State Level Bankers’ Committee has projected Rs.29,101 crore for disbursement as crop loans during 2016-17 including Rs.18,000 crore earmarked for kharif operations. During 2015-16, the banks could lend only Rs.17,492 crore as crop production (short term) loans.

Official sources stated that against the projected requirement of 17.87-lakh metric tonnes of fertilizer required for kharif operations, nearly 8.5-lakh metric tonnes was positioned at stock/sales points already. On subsidised seed, the sources said 5.45-lakh quintals of various seed was positioned at stock points and another 2.92-lakh quintals was positioned at sales points out of 9.5-lakh quintals planned to be distributed for kharif. Last kharif, farmers have availed over 3.99-lakh quintals of subsidised seed.