New agricultural infrastructures and mechanization

Feb 04: Since the inception of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Scheme on July 8, 2020, Rs 152 crore was sanctioned by Banks and other lending institutions to create 144 infrastructure units sanctioned under the Scheme in the NER region. This includes 78 Primary processing Centres, 26 Warehouses, 5 Cold Stores and Cold chains, 2 Sorting and Grading Units and 33 other miscellaneous infrastructure projects.

In order to support farmers in adopting mechanization and modernizing Indian agriculture, Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme provides incentives by way of 3% Interest subvention on AIF Loans and reimbursement of guarantee fees on collateral-free AIF loans lent by lenders for Farm/Harvest Automation, setting up of Custom Hiring Centres, Purchase of drones, putting up specialized sensors on the field, Blockchain and AI in agriculture etc. The introduction of Remote sensing and the Internet of Things (IoT) such as automatic weather stations, Farm advisory services through GIS applications constitute other such initiatives in the category of Infrastructure for smart and precision agriculture. AIF also aims at improvising Supply chain services that include the creation of e-marketing platforms.

  In order to give a fillip to the food processing units, under AIF scheme primary processing is encouraged and convergence of this Scheme with other Government schemes is being facilitated to offer multiple Scheme benefits to beneficiaries. Other initiatives include the creation and modernization of storage and Primary Processing activities and improving the cold chain which includes: Reefer Vans & Insulated vehicles, a Ripening chamber and Sorting and Grading units.

The mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), provides assistance for the development of Post-Harvest Management (PHM) for perishable horticulture crops which includes the establishment of pack house, Integrated pack house, pre-cooling, staging cold room, cold storages, controlled atmosphere (CA) storage, reefer transport, setting up of ripening chambers and Integrated cold chain supply system etc. This scheme also provides assistance for setting up food processing units in North East and Himalayan States only. For Food Processing Units credit linked back-ended assistance @ 50% of eligible project cost, in North Eastern and the Himalayan States the maximum project cost of   Rs. 800.00 lakh/unit is available.

Under Agricultural Marketing infrastructure (AMI) sub-scheme of Integrated Scheme for Agricultural Marketing (ISAM), since inception i.e. from 01.04.2001 and up to 31.12.2022, a total of 42164 storage infrastructure projects (Godowns) with capacity of 740.43 Lakh MT have been assisted in the country.

Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) Scheme has been implemented in 704 districts of 28 States & 5 UTs to educate the farmers. Under the scheme Grants-in-aid is released to the State Government with the objective to support State Governments’  efforts to make available the latest agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices in different thematic areas of agriculture and allied sector (including boost up the production and educating the farmers) to farmers through different extension activities viz; Farmers Training, Demonstration, Exposure Visit, Kisan Mela, Mobilization of Farmers Group and organizing Farm Schools etc.

 Under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) Scheme of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, a farm machinery training and testing institute at Biswanath Chariali was set up in 1990. The institute is imparting training to farmers, technicians, engineers, rural youths and women in the field of tractors and agricultural machines. The institute pays a stipend to farmers @Rs.200 per day along with to & fro from their residence to attend training. Institute organizes field demonstrations and training in villages also. Under this scheme, the training institutes organize demonstrations of advanced machines in the field and garden friendly tools and equipment. Besides, these institutes test the machines as per BIS codes to ensure the supply of quality machines to farmers.

A total of 489 food processing units have been approved by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries under the Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities (CEFPPC) scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) with a total project cost of Rs. 7907.26 Cr. including grants-in-aid of Rs. 1890.30 Crore in NER.

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