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State to get ₹4,500 cr. for agriculture sector

Centre sanctions fund for infrastructure development

The Central government has sanctioned ₹4,500 crore for infrastructure development in the State’s agriculture sector, Agriculture Minister V. S. Sunil Kumar said on Thursday.

The assistance is being provided on the basis of a detailed project report submitted by the State, Mr. Sunil Kumar said after a videoconference with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

The State plans to develop the infrastructure under the aegis of primary cooperatives and agriculture production companies. A State-level monitoring committee headed by the Chief Secretary and district-level committees headed by the Collectors will be formed to oversee the implementation, Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

Since small and nominal farmers constitute a majority of the State’s farmer population, the State has requested the Centre to issue one-time grants to farmer groups. Farmers and agriculture production companies also should be issued the grants via Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

During the 2020-21 fiscal, 100 to 250 agriculture production companies, 50 to 100 agri-startups, 1,000 organic clusters and 100 export-oriented groups will be established in the State, the Minister said.

Pack houses will be established in all 140 constituencies. The State government also plans to start custom hiring centres to strengthen mechanisation and the workforce in the sector.

Support price

The State has requested the Union Agriculture Ministry to declare support price specially for raw coconut via the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The State has also sought a special support price for pepper as an encouragement to spice farmers.

Further, Mr. Sunil Kumar also urged the Centre to include Alappuzha and Thrissur, the hubs of paddy cultivation in Kerala, in the National Food Security Mission (NFSM). Both regions are important ecologically and in terms of food security of the State, the Minister said.

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