On Monday Central government, Assam government and the World Bank signed a loan agreement for US $262.40 million (Rs. 1,784 crore appx) to take up Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (Apart), aimed to improve the agriculture sector in the state.
The project will be implemented in 16 districts of Assam for 7 years. Over 5,00,000 farming households will be directly benefited from the project.
The loan agreement was signed by the joint secretary of Union finance ministry Samir Khare along with Ravi Kota who is the principal secretary of Assam finance department and acting country directors of the World Bank, Hisham Abdo Kahin, in New Delhi.
The project agreement states farmers and entrepreneurs in Assam will be profited by:
- Apart through increased price premium of commodities sold,
- enhanced market access and
- higher number of farmers adopting climate-resilient agricultural technologies.
The project will offer sustenance value addition in:
- production and post-harvest segments of selected agriculture value chains,
- stimulate establishment of small and medium agri-enterprises,
- facilitate agribusiness investments and resilience of agricultural production systems
- for managing increasing production and commercial risks associated with climate change.
This project would enable setting up and strengthening of new institutions such as the Assam Bureau of Investment Promotion to boost agribusiness investments and Enterprise Development and Promotion Facility to provisioning agribusiness enterprises.
The project will further set up agribusiness fund of Rs 200 crore to encourage private sector investment in agribusiness.
The project also aims at growing the throughput volume by setting up about 100 Farmers Producers Organisations that will set up satisfactory number of Common Service Centres with a target of
- 70,000 tonnes of agriculture commodities,
- 10,000 tonnes of fish and
- 790 tonnes of milk per annum.
Additionally, 1.25 lakh farmers will get amplified access to financial services with at least about 40,000 being women producers. Farmers will also be provided market intelligence and weather forecasts.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the scheme would help double farm income.