AP Govt, German Bank Sign Rs 711 Cr Loan Pact For Natural Farming Project

Representational Image - Sakshi Post

AMARAVATI: KfW, a German development bank, will assist the Andhra Pradesh government with a Rs 711 crore loan for expanding the climate-resilient Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in the state over the next five years.

The state government will spend another Rs 304 crore on the project under which 2.39 lakh farmers in 591 village panchayats will be encouraged to take up ZBNF, Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu said.

KfW Director Christoph Kessler, Andhra Pradesh Special Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Poonam Malakondaiah and Rythu Sadhikara Samstha co-vice-chairman T Vijay Kumar signed the project agreement in the presence of Kanna Babu here on Wednesday.

The ZBNF project is being undertaken by the state government, dovetailing the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) of the Centre, with the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives extending technical support.

It has already launched ZBNF is over 3,011 villages covering an extent of 1.28 lakh hectares. With the German financial assistance, the project will be scaled up to touch two lakh hectares.

KfW will also provide a Rs 7.9 crore grant for financing independent verification, and audit; baseline-midline-end line review and evaluation and related studies of the ZBNF project, according to the Agriculture Minister.

Kannababu launched a toll free number 1800 599 3366 for enquiries and to provide information on the insurance scheme launched by the government for the farmers. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said natural farming would be encouraged by the government in 600 villages in the state with the funds in the coming five years.

As part of the agreement with the German firm, the government has taken a loan of Rs 711 crores out of the estimated amount of Rs 1015 crores earmarked to be spent towards ZBNF. Later, the minister dialled the toll free number, called up farmers in his constituency of Kakinada rural and enquired about the crops that are being raised by them. The toll-free number would be functional from 10am to 10pm every day.

The minister said that the government has passed orders to completely take over the schemes of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima (PMFBY) and RWBCS Scheme and implement them on its own during the coming rabi season. The agriculture department would work as the nodal agency for the schemes. For the farmers who apply online for the insurance scheme through Karshak app, the last date for groundnut crop will be January 31 and February 15 for other crops.

The minister said that farmers who have taken loans from banks or from common service centres need not pay the premium. He said the village secretariats would take the full responsibility of handling all the dealings of the farmers. The minister gave an assurance to the farmers that the government was ready to pay compensation to them in case of any loss.

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