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July 15, 2018

Enhancing crop production through quality seeds, agricultural credit & crop insurance

Enhancing crop production through quality seeds, agricultural credit & crop insurance

To enhance crop production, the Trinamool Congress Government has initiated a lot of interventions. The Agriculture Department takes steps to ensure that the various schemes and programmes are implemented in right earnest. Independent assessments are carried out.

Seed production
The Bengal Government has achieved considerable progress in the production and usage of high-quality seeds. Seeds of different crops are multiplied in farms under the government, cooperatives, self-help groups (SHG) and farmers’ clubs, in state agricultural universities, under non-governmental organisations (NGO) as well as under private enterprises as per the guidelines of the Seed Certification Programme. Presently, there are 193 farms under the State Government.

Seed certification
The State Government is laying a lot of stress on the production of certified seeds, as they are grown in such a way as to produce plants which are not only high-yielding but also disease-resistant. It has a comprehensive Seed Certification Programme. The certified seeds would be sold from fair-price shops across the state.

There are five seed testing laboratories operating currently. The Agriculture Department has firmed up plans to set up one seed testing laboratory in every district.

Crops included in the Seed Certification Programme are rice, wheat, hybrid maize, moong dal, kalai dal, gram, arhar dal, lentil, khesari, mustard, groundnut, sesame, jute, potato and fodder crops.

Self-sufficiency in seed production
To attain self-sufficiency in seed production, the Government has decided to take a number of measures to improve production in the Government farms, including increasing net cultivable area by engaging contractual workers, increasing irrigation facilities, providing modern farm machinery, creating more person-days for year-round seed production programmes and conserving indigenous folk rice varieties.

Agricultural credit
Agricultural credit, or investments in agriculture, helps in improving farmers’ incomes, and Kisan Credit Card (KCC) is the instrument for making that investment. The State Government is taking firm steps to improve credit disbursal and, through it, the financial inclusion of farmers.

As such, the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), comprising scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks and cooperative banks, has decided to increase the average credit per KCC from the current Rs 42,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

The number of KCCs being issued is increasing year by year. During financial year (FY) 2017-18 (April to September), 9.2 lakh KCCs were issued against 8.5 lakh in the similar period during the previous financial year, that is, 2016-17.

Crop insurance
The crop insurance scheme, Bangla Fasal Bima Yojana (BFBY) is being implemented from kharif market season 2016. The full farmers’ share of premium for all notified crops is being borne by the State Government in addition to its own share. There are two exceptions – sugarcane and potato – where 4.85 per cent of the farmers’ share is borne by the farmers themselves and the rest by the government.

Based on the success, BFBY has been implemented for all kharif market seasons (KMS) and rabi market seasons (RMS) thereafter. The tendering process is on for KMS 2018.

The State Government has released the full farmers’ share and state’s share of the premium for KMS 2016 to the insurance companies and the same is at an advanced stage for RMS 2016-17.

With respect to crop losses, all interim claims for KMS 2016 and RMS 2016-17 have been released. For KMS 2017, district magistrates have issued notifications for crop losses caused.

Thus, the State Government has been steadily improving the quality of agricultural production through the giving of better-quality seeds and increased agricultural credit, and improving farmers’ security through providing crop insurance.