Economic package: Nirmala Sitharaman announces ₹1 trillion fund for farm entrepreneurs1 min read . Updated: 15 May 2020, 05:40 PM IST
- The announcement comes after some states allowed procurement and trading of farm produce anywhere in the state without the need to go to wholesale markets
- It will benefit private agriculture entrepreneurs and startups which are looking to procure from farmers
NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a ₹1 trillion fund for entrepreneurs to set up facilities to procure, store and market agriculture produce, a move which would at improve the value realised by farmers.
The announcement comes after some state governments, including Uttar Pradesh, allowed procurement and trading of farm produce anywhere in the state without the need to go to wholesale markets.
Announcing the third tranche of the ₹20 trillion economic package, Sitharaman said the ₹1 trillion fund is meant for aggregators, cooperative societies and farm entrepreneurs for strengthening farm gate infrastructure. This will finance setting up cold chains, post-harvest management infrastructure and storage centres, the minister said.
The minister also said it will benefit private agriculture entrepreneurs and startups which are looking to procure from farmers and reach global market but do not have the infrastructure. “This fund will immediately address the issue. It will be created at the earliest," the minister said.
For micro food enterprises, she said a ₹10,000 crore support will be given to help these units modernise their business and in right branding. Most of the products covered under the scheme will be health and wellness, nutritional and organic products.
Creating the fund is one of the 11 measures Sitharaman announced on Friday to support and reform the farm sector. The package announced on Friday includes 11 measures to improve farm infrastructure and logistics and reform the agriculture sector.
The minister said during the national lockdown, the government has purchased farm produce of ₹74,300 crore at minimum support prices and have transferred ₹18,700 crore as income support to farmers.
“The underlying principle is to empower the people, give them resources so that they can produce for themselves and have livelihoods for themselves rather than going for entitlements. Wherever entitlements are due, yes, they will be given. But largely our focus is to make sure India stands up on its own, generate its own jobs. You will see a lot more of empowering people through creating skills and logistics," Sitharaman said explaining the rationale of the package.