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State extends crop loan for Rabi season

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OST Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Oct 24: Considering the massive damage to the kharif crops due to the recent cyclone and floods in Odisha, the state government has announced the revised Rabi campaign programme for 2013-14 with extension crop loan to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore to the farmers in 30 districts through the cooperative sector.

“The state government has decided to take Rabi cultivation, including horticulture activity in 33.68 lakh hectares this season compared to around 25.68 lakh hectares in 2012-13” agriculture minister Debi Prasad Mishra told reporters here on Wednesday.

The Rabi programme includes coverage of an estimated 19.92 lakh hectares which includes 4.17 lakh hectares under cereals and 15.75 lakh hectares under pulses cultivation, the minister said, adding while 5.71 lakh hectares would be covered for oil seed cultivation, 6.50 lakh hectares would be covered under vegetables and 1.05 lakh hectares under spices.

Besides, it is targeted to cultivate sugarcane in around 50,000 hectares, he informed.

Stating that the estimated farm credit during the Rabi season would be disbursed through 17 Central Cooperative Banks, Mishra said the crop loan would be available to the farmer members of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies at 5 per cent rate of interest and if they repay the outstanding dues on or before the due dates, 3 per cent incentive would be available to them, thereby reducing the effective rate of interest on crop loans to two per cent per annum.

He said an estimated 11 lakh hectares of crop land have been affected by the cyclone and floods of which around 6.54 lakh hectares sustained huge loss of crop.

The minister also informed that as decided, an additional 7.20 crore lakh hectares of agricultural lands would be provided with irrigation facilities.

In view of the recent cyclone and floods, the state government had constituted a 13-member task force under the chairmanship of principal secretary of Agriculture to formulate the revised Rabi campaign programme for 2013-14.

The task force has been asked to meet every Monday for next two months to ensure successful implementation of the ensuing Rabi programme.

This apart, a task force would also be constituted in the district level under concerned collectors for the regular review of the implementation of the progamme also on every Monday, said Mishra.

Highlighting the thrust areas for post-disaster measures to restore agricultural operations, he said efforts would be made for expansion of areas by taking up one or more short duration crops during the crop year.

“Lands where there is partial crop loss, need-based plant protection and crop rehabilitation measures would be taken up while, the farmers whose crop loss is more than 75 per cent, would be advised to directly go for next crop by availing various initiatives announced by the government”, the minister added.

Besides, intensive extension campaign on agriculture will be taken up during 2013-14 on all developmental programmes for creating awareness among farmers, Mishras said, adding that Krishi Raths will go around in each block during the campaign period.