Farmers in Maharashtra have been forced to undertake new kharif plantings after the seeds provided to them failed to germinate, but their access to crop loans from banks remains low. Compared to the target of Rs 45,785 crore, the crop loan disbursed until the first week of August to 30 lakh farmers for the kharif season was Rs 22,770 crore, or only 50 percent has been disbursed.
“The financial situation across the rural belt is worrying. Farmers are the most affected because they have no money. Falling prices of agricultural products over the past four months have destroyed their lives, ”said Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat.
Maharashtra has 1.52 crore of farmers and only 30 lakh farmers have received a harvest loan. The number is worrying given that 78 percent of farmers are small and marginal farmers who cannot take care of the fields without adequate financial support from banks.
Agricultural loan disbursed through commercial banks amounts to Rs 11,196 crore against target of Rs 32,524 crore. Crop loan disbursed by district cooperative banks amounts to Rs 11,574 crore against the target of Rs. 13,261 crore.
While admitting that agricultural loan disbursements stood at 50 percent in the current Kharif season, one official said they were still 11 percent higher than in the last Kharif season. In 2019, the sanctioned harvest loan was Rs 43,844 crore, while Rs 17,052 crore was disbursed, or 39% of the target. Last year, 22 lakh farmers benefited from harvest loans.
Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil said that compared to national banks, district cooperative banks have been proactive in providing loans to eligible farmers.