The Uttar Pradesh government has unveiled a plan to enhance the agricultural value of the state by investing approximately Rs 3,800 crore in agricultural start-ups during the financial year 2023-24. The new initiative aims to promote various sectors within agriculture, including seeds, fertilisers, warehousing, soil nutrients, harvest/post-harvest crop management, and food processing units.
The scheme encompasses agricultural and horticultural crops, as well as allied farm activities, such as pisciculture, sericulture, and food processing.
A senior official from the agriculture department has revealed that the state intends to approve at least five agricultural ventures and start-ups each month in all of the 75 districts. By streamlining the loan process, the government hopes to benefit over 3,000 agricultural entrepreneurs and young farmers.
The funding for this initiative will be sourced from the Centre’s Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme, which focuses on investing in medium- and long-term community agricultural assets at the local level to enhance basic farm infrastructure.
To be eligible for a credit line from designated commercial banks, the beneficiary project must have a value exceeding Rs 1 crore. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will receive an interest subsidy of 6 percent, equally shared by the AIF and the state government. Additionally, projects up to Rs 2 crore will not require any collateral or guarantee during the loaning process.
“The primary objective of this initiative is to facilitate a profitable post-harvest value chain and ensure favorable prices for farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs,” stated the senior official.
The central government has signed a memorandum of understanding with nearly a dozen public sector banks to provide loans under this scheme. Agriculture serves as the backbone of Uttar Pradesh’s economy. In the previous fiscal year (2022-23), the state’s agricultural exports witnessed a growth of 5.5 percent, reaching approximately Rs 19,000 crore compared to roughly Rs 18,000 crore the previous year.
The exports encompassed agricultural and horticultural crops, including fruits, vegetables, food grains, and oilseeds, with a particular focus on products promoted by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
The Adityanath government aims to double rural income by implementing a multi-pronged approach, which includes increasing farm productivity, yield, and acreage, as well as establishing a profitable marketing chain. This investment in agri start-ups is a significant step towards achieving this goal and driving economic growth in the agricultural sector of Uttar Pradesh.