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Government has announced a 1.63 lakh crore rupee package for agriculture and allied sectors aimed at strengthening infrastructure, logistics and capacity building at farm gate.

Announcing the third tranche of an overall package of 20 lakh crore rupees to deal with the economic situation arising of COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a one lakh crore rupees Agri Infrastructure Fund that will finance projects at farm-gate and aggregation point for efficient post-harvest management of crops.

Besides, schemes for micro food enterprises, cattle vaccination, dairy sector, herbal plantation, beekeeping, and fruits and vegetables were also announced.

Ms Sitharaman said the government will provide one lakh crore rupees for aggregators, farmers producers organisations, primary agri cooperative societies, agri entrepreneurs and startups under the agri infrastructure fund. She informed that the fund will be created at the earliest.

The Minister stated that lack of adequate cold chain facilities and post-harvest management infrastructure in the vicinity of farm gates is causing gaps in the value chain. She announced  10,000 crore rupees fund to support 2 lakh micro food enterprises for promoting health and wellness, herbal, organic and nutritional products. 

The government will also launch a 20,000 crore rupees Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the development of marine and inland fisheries. Of this, 11,000 crore rupees will be earmarked for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture while 9,000 crore rupees for infrastructure creation such as fishing harbours, cold chain and markets. This will provide employment to over 55 lakh persons and double exports to one lakh crore rupees.

The Finance Minister said the ongoing National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis will look at 100 per cent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and pigs against Foot and Mouth Disease at an outlay of 13,343 crore rupees.

In addition to this, a 15,000 crore rupees Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund was announced to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.

The government has launched a 4,000 crore rupees fund to promote herbal cultivation in about 10 lakh hectares of area. The scheme will help generate 5,000 crore rupees income for farmers. Along the bank of Ganga, a corridor of medicinal plants will be developed over 800 hectares area.

Another 500 crore rupees has been earmarked for beekeeping initiatives, helping 2 lakh beekeepers.

The government extended Operation Greens from tomato, onion and potato to all fruits and vegetables by providing an additional fund of 500 crore rupees. This money would go into providing subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets as well as on storages including cold storages. Ms Sitharaman said the scheme will prevent distress sale by farmers.




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