To rejuvenate ‘life’ around agriculture, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) is rolling out Jiva (life) with its network of non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in rural areas.
“Jiva is about rejuvenation of earth, creating life around the agricultural fields, using natural resources. We have created watersheds, ensuring water security to 2.5 million hectares of land,” Nabard Chairman GR Chintala told BusinessLine .
Now that the water security is ensured the question now is whether the soil is enriched, whether the microbial activity in the soils is maintained well, whether the farmers are practising proper agricultural practices. “Jiva is about creating a system where no more harm can be done to the soil, nature,” he said.
The Nabard is roping its network of NGOs and other stakeholders to roll out this programme. A training programme is on in Maharashtra to sensitise stakeholders.
He said the Nabard is promoting integrated farming in different parts of the country. “The farmer can’t depend on a single crop for his sustenance. He can’t be left to the mercy of the market forces for selling the produce. He should have a bouquet of crops to depend on,” he said.
“We made it a kind of movement around it. Loans are going from the banks through our funding. Even small farmers with a small chunk of land too is getting funds to grow, say, horticultural crops like pomegranate, under this scheme,” he said.
“Going forward this is going to be a kind of insurance against market calamities. You need to have a multi-pronged approach – on one side we are promoting integrated farming and supporting farmer producer organisations,” he said.
Support to PACS
The Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS), which are in a severe financial crisis, are getting a fresh line of support from the Nabard. “The PACS have to be brought out from the moribund stage. We are encouraging them to become multi service societies to augment their financial resources,” the Nabard Chairman said.
The Nabard is giving them a loan of up to ₹2 crore to fine-tune their operations. About 3,500 PACS have been sanctioned loans from the apex rural bank. Besides, it has devised a scheme to computerise PACS. “It is in an advanced state. We will roll it out the moment we get the government concurrence,” he said.