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Natural Farming: Andhra Government to Provide Financial Assistance to Over 70,000 Women Farmers

The government will support the changeover by utilising its wide network of women's self-help groups.

Chintu Das
Farmer From AP
Farmer From AP

The Andhra Pradesh government promised financial assistance to over 70,000 women from scheduled castes (SC) in order to encourage marginal farmers to practice natural farming. 

Chemicals are not used in natural farming, and traditional agricultural techniques are encouraged. It is especially beneficial to smallholder farmers since it minimises their reliance on bought inputs. 

Each of the nominated 71,560 SC farmers, including tenant farmers, in 30 districts would receive a one-time subsidy of Rs 10,000 and an interest-free loan. The effort is intended to assist them in transitioning from conventional to natural farming while also lowering their input costs. 

According to a 2019 National Statistical Office study, SC farming households account for 12% of the state's agricultural households. Tenant farmers account for the majority of them. 

The government will support the changeover by utilising its wide network of women's self-help groups (SHGs).

"We are starting with women farmers initially because we have a vibrant SHG structure," Harsha Vardan, managing director of the state SC Corporation, which works for the welfare of scheduled caste population, said. "We have identified the farmers based on their interests of shifting to natural farming. All the identified farmers are small, marginal, or landless and have one acre or less land." 

He went on to say that the subsidy may be used for things like seed purchases, mulching, and bio-stimulants. Individual micro-credit plans (MCP) will be prepared by the farmers for the loan amount, and based on them, they will be provided an interest-free loan. "There is no maximum loan amount," Vardan added, "but based on our estimates, the typical loan amount will be about Rs 40,000-50,000." 

The effort is part of the government's Andhra Pradesh Community-managed Natural Farming (APCNF) plan, which seeks to convert the whole state to natural farming by 2030. 

Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS), the nodal organisation for executing APCNF, would provide natural farming instruction to the project's farmers. 

In AP, more than 41% of tenant farmers are from SC households, according to GV Ramanjaneyulu, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. 

"They are unable to participate in any plan since the land is not registered in their name." As a result, they are unable to obtain normal agricultural finance." 

He stated that this endeavour will assist them in overcoming this obstacle. 

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