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Karnataka Budget Boosts Post-Harvest Infrastructure with New Measures

The Karnataka budget aims to empower farmers and strengthen agriculture by increasing value addition, supporting FPOs, and modernizing post-harvest infrastructure, improving incomes and providing peace of mind.

Shivam Dwivedi
Karnataka Budget Boosts Post-Harvest Infrastructure with New Measures (Photo Source: Pexels)
Karnataka Budget Boosts Post-Harvest Infrastructure with New Measures (Photo Source: Pexels)

In an effort to enhance post-harvest infrastructure and support farmers' income, the Karnataka government has introduced a series of measures in the State budget. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah unveiled these initiatives while presenting the budget for 2023-24, which includes steps to encourage value addition and protect the interests of farmers.

One of the notable announcements is the revival of the popular scheme Krishi Bhagya, which will now be implemented alongside the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. This convergence of schemes aims to provide comprehensive support to farmers, with an allocation of Rs100 crore. Additionally, a new initiative called 'Navodyama' will be launched with a budgetary allocation of Rs10 crore. This scheme aims to promote value addition in agricultural produce and foster innovation in the agricultural marketing sector.

Recognizing the importance of branding and marketing farmers' produce, the government has allocated Rs10 crore to encourage the branding of agricultural products, following the successful model of 'Nandini.' This strategic move aims to enable the marketing of farmers' produce not only within the state but also on national and international platforms.

In order to strengthen Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), the government will provide financial assistance to 100 FPOs in backward talukas. These organizations will receive a 4% interest subsidy on loans up to Rs20 lakh from commercial and cooperative banks. Furthermore, FPOs will have access to seed capital up to a maximum of 20% of the project cost, not exceeding Rs1 crore. This financial support will aid in the development of infrastructure, such as godowns and cold storages, facilitating the export of FPO produce.

In a bid to boost the export of farm products, the government has allocated Rs5 crore to support FPOs, start-ups, and micro food processing entrepreneurs. Additionally, farmers will receive an interest subsidy of up to 7% on bank loans of up to Rs20 lakh for the construction of godowns to store their produce securely.

To enhance the custom hiring centers, known as Krishi Yantradhare Kendra, which provide agricultural implements on rent, the government plans to establish 300 high-tech harvester hubs. As a first step, 100 hubs will be set up during the 2023-24 period at a cost of Rs50 crore. These hubs will facilitate the availability of advanced machinery to farmers, ensuring efficient agricultural practices.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah emphasized that the government is committed to the welfare of farmers. He stated that the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) are expected to work in the best interest of the farmers and ensure a fair price for their produce. Additionally, he expressed concerns regarding the previous government's amendment to the APMC Act, which had weakened the marketing network and adversely affected farmers' livelihoods. As a result, the government has decided to withdraw the amendment and take measures to protect the interests of farmers.

The impact of the APMC Act amendment is evident, as the total income of the State's 167 APMCs declined from Rs570-600 crore in 2018-19 to Rs193 crore in 2022-23. Siddaramaiah highlighted the necessity of safeguarding farmers from exploitation and deception by private companies in the open market.

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