Regional disparity in agricultural credit must be addressed, dubs Centre

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], August 11 (ANI): The key challenges that the Indian horticulture sector faces is post-harvest losses, non-avaiability of quality planting material and lack of market access for horticultural produce of small farmers, highlighted the Economic Survey 2016-17, Part II released in the Parliament here today. The survey highlighted that while the credit is essential to improve productivity of agriculture, similarly, the the informal sources of credit is a growing concern. "In India, the average farm size is declining since 1970-71. The predominance of small operational holdings is a major limitation to reap the benefits of economies of scale in agriculture operations," read the Economic Survey 2016-17. However, it added that the managing and reducing the various risks in agriculture activities can make the sector resilient, increase profitability and can ensure stable income flows to the farmers. While productivity remains a key concern for the sector, the Economic Survey suggested that to enhance productivity of crops, standards should be set and enforced for better quality, pest and disease resistant seeds. Also, trade and domestic policy changes should be announced well before sowing and should stay till arrivals and procurement is over. To tackle the issue of credit distribution, the Survey urges that credit is provided in time, maintaining affordability, and channelising formal and institutional credit to the small and marginal farmers, to ensure inclusive growth. "Another important area of focus will remain strengthening marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain," it added. Also, the share of irrigated area should be expanded by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems, the Survey suggested. (ANI)