Within two-and-a-half years of implementation of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), the scheme has mobilized more than Rs.30,000 crore for projects in the agriculture infrastructure sector with a sanctioned amount of Rs.15,000 crore under AIF. With the support of 3% interest subvention, credit guarantee support through CGTMSE for the loan of up to Rs.2 crore, and facility of convergence with other Central and State governments. The scheme, AIF is providing all-around financial support to the farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and farmer groups like Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups (JLGs), and many others to create post-harvest management infrastructure and build community farming asset throughout the country.
Understanding the demand-supply gap between the need of the consumers and the supply of primarily processed vegetables from the farmers, Yogesh CB from the Mandya district of Karnataka was looking to set up a primary processing center for vegetables. While looking for the support available from Government, he came across the AIF scheme in the year 2020. He applied for a loan of Rs.1.9 crore on the AIF portal, which got verified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and sanctioned by the Bank of India very quickly in December 2020. He was able to ground his vision with the help of AIF, and Ariant Veg came into the existence. Through the interest subvention provided under AIF, he was able to secure the finance at an effective Rate of Interest (RoI) of just 5.45%, which is much lower than the open market rate. At present, Ariant Veg supports more than 250 local farmers by providing them with seeds and the technology to grow quality vegetables, then they collect the yield from the farmers at a fair price which is then cleaned, sorted, graded, and packed in the processing center before reaching to the end consumer daily.
Similarly, Anand Patel, a farmer from Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh, realized the importance and need for mechanization in agriculture, especially for small and marginal farmers for whom agriculture machinery is not affordable. He then established a hi-tech hub where agriculture machinery is provided on a rental basis to the local farmers. This Hi-tech Hub has 12 Farm machinery, including a combine harvester, thresher, laser land leveler, tractors, zero till seed cum fertilizer drill, mulcher, and much more, that costs around Rs. 60.82 lakhs, which seemed a lot for a farmer like Patel. But through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and its unique feature of convergence with other Central government and State government schemes, Patel was not only able to secure a loan of Rs. 45.62 lakhs at an interest rate of just 5.4% but also got the benefit of capital subsidy of 40% of the total project cost under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM) scheme of MoA&FW. Now he is providing services of these machines to more than 100 small and marginal farmers, which helped them in saving a lot of effort, time, and money.
Yogesh and Anand are two of more than 20,000 beneficiaries of AIF, whose dream to diversify their profile and take a forward leap in agricultural development has come true through AIF support. AIF is silently changing the landscape of Indian Agriculture through the creation and modernization of much-needed agriculture infrastructure. These infrastructure projects are helping in reducing post-harvest losses, modernizing agriculture packages and practices, and helping farmers in better price realization of their produce.
Agriculture Infra Fund (AIF) is a financing facility launched on 8th July 2020 under the visionary guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farm assets. Under this scheme, one lakh crore rupees are to be disbursed by the financial year 2025-26, and the interest subvention and credit guarantee assistance will be given till the year 2032-33.