TADEPALLI: German development bank KfW has agreed to lend Rs 1735 Crore to the Andhra Pradesh government for expanding Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in the State.

The state government has drawn up a plan to take up ZBNF in 1725 villages, involving seven lakh farmers, and submitted a project for Rs 2479 crore to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for external financial assistance.

The DEA approved the proposal in April and forwarded it to KfW for a Rs 1735 crore loan.The state government will spend the balance Rs 744 crore. KfW officials Christoph Kessler and Sangeeta Agarwal met AP Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney here on Wednesday and discussed the project, an official release said.

The state government will soon sign a tripartite agreement with KfW and DEA for the loan, following which the German bank will release the first tranche of Rs 694 crore, according to the release.

Under the project, the state government would train 25,000 master farmers who would act as community resource persons for ZBNF. Also, 69,000 farmers would be formed into self-help groups to oversee the implementation of eco-farming practices.

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