Friday, October 11, 2013

Maharashtra government gets 1,100 crore to boost agriculture

The state government has received Rs 1,100 crore funds from the Union government under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for carrying out various programmes in the agricultural sector with an aim to improve infrastructure, water supply schemes and soil conservation.

The state agriculture department recently received intimation from the state government in this regard. The department had received Rs 1,058.58 crore in the last financial year of which Rs 261.57 crore is still with the government. According to agriculture department officials, the state is planning to get a sanction for the utilization of these funds as there were no rains last year to carry out agricultural activities. The unutilized funds can be used in the current season as many parts of the state have received good showers, the officials said.

The soil in the state is more fertile and requires separate treatment for improving its texture. "The state has set up some soil testing labs, which will benefit from RKVY funds to bear their running cost. Moreover, chemicals and equipment need to be purchased and replaced from time to time. The funds will also be used for carrying out seed development activities, wherein farmers are paid for producing certain quality of seeds at their respective fields. The funds sanctioned for the current year along with unutilized money from the previous year would strengthen infrastructure facilities," the officials said.

"Micro irrigation is another sector that the state and central governments is promoting. Use of sprinklers and drip irrigation would save a lot of water which can be utilized in a more efficient way. The agriculture sector is facing serious challenge of water availability as demand from urban areas is increasing. In such a situation, micro irrigation may prove to be a solution, wherein farmers would not have to compromise on their share of water from dams and reservoirs," the officials said.

"The agriculture department has also conducted various workshops and awareness programmes for farmers across the state. The funds will be utilized for encouraging the farmers to use water judiciously," they said.

"The state and Union governments have already started providing subsidy to farmers for shifting from flow water method to micro irrigation," they added.

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