The Maharashtra government has set an ambitious target of a crop loan of Rs 44,000 crore for the ensuing kharif season. At the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here on Thursday, the government has also decided to supply seeds and fertilizers at the farms in the wake of the extended lockdown.
The government expects kharif cultivation will be done covering 140.11 lakh hectares considering the 96 to 104 per cent monsoon predicted by the weather bureau. Of the 140.11 lakh hectares, soybean and cotton will be cultivated on 82 lakh hectares, which is 60 per cent of the total kharif area.
During the meeting, the officials said that, during the lockdown, 9,68,550 quintal fruits and vegetables were directly sold online, for which 3,212 centers had been set up.
For the kharif season, the total quantum of seeds needed is 17.01 lakh quintal, of which 54,000 metric tonnes of seeds are being provided to farmers by adhering to social distancing norms.
The cotton produced in the state is 410 lakh quintal, of which 344 lakh quintal cotton has been procured so far. The remaining part will be purchased by June 20, the statement said.
As many as 163 cotton procurement centres are functioning and directives have been given for the procurement of 2 lakh quintals every day, the Chief Minister’s Office said in the statement.
Under the state government's Mahatma Jyotirao Phule farm loan waiver scheme, out of the 32 lakh account holders, the loan waiver amount of Rs 12,000 crore has been deposited into 19 lakh accounts, the statement said.
Due to the shortage of funds, Rs 8,100 crore are yet to be given to 11.12 lakh accounts, the officials said during the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting through video-conferencing, Thackeray said the government was following up with the RBI about crop loans to farmers.
He assured that farmers will be looked after well in the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focus should be on the quality crop produced, which can be exported in large numbers. Post COVID-19, there would be a lot of changes and the agriculture sector will have an important role to play, he said.
"Our government will soon complete six months in office. We presented a good budget. However, soon after that, we were engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic. The country's economy is under grave threat," he said.