By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 6, 2017: The Odisha government on Monday announced to provide agriculture input subsidy to farmers who have suffered crop loss to the extent of 33% and above due to pest attack. The State government has earmarked Rs 124 crore for the purpose.

It also announced a slew of measures for the affected farmers after a meeting of the State Agriculture Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here. Most importantly, the farmers who had set their crops on fire following crop loss due to pest attack will also get input subsidy.

The affected farmers will get Rs 6,800 per hectare of land in rainfed/non-irrigated areas and Rs 13,500 in areas under assured irrigation. Assistance will be provided to real cultivators, subject to a ceiling of two hectares per farmer.

The State government has appealed to farmers not to set their crops on fire as it would pose problems at the time of assessment of crop loss.

“We appeal to farmers not to set their crops on fire as it will pose problems for the government to assess crop loss later,” revenue and disaster mitigation minister Maheswar Mohanty told reporters after the Agriculture Cabinet meeting.

In pest affected areas, 75% subsidy will be provided to the farmers for purchase of insecticides/pesticides for management of brown planthopper (BPH) for crops sown during Kharif, 2017.

Further, steps will be taken to make these pesticides available in all affected blocks. However, the benefit will be limited to maximum of two hectares.

Moreover, 10,000 sprayers will be provided to affected farmers in BPH affected areas at a subsidy of 50%, subject to maximum of Rs 3,000 per sprayer.

As many as 50,000 landless, marginal, and small farmers in the pest affected areas will be provided with livelihood support in terms of backyard poultry.

The due date of Kharif short-term loans, 2017 taken by farmers who have suffered a minimum of 33% crop loss and above will be extended up to 30.9.2018 to facilitate conversion of such loans to medium term (conversion loans).

In the affected villages, 1 lakh farmers will be provided with mini kits and demonstration kits comprising of paddy, pulses and oilseeds and 50,000 vegetable kits will be provided to farmers for Rabi programme.

While fresh finance will be advanced to farmers for Rabi crop, tuition fees and examination fees in pest affected areas will be waived.

“We have provisioned Rs 5000 crore for giving loans for Rabi crop. Loans have been provided after checking advances. By the end of this October Rs 60 crore has been extended as loans. We have Rs 5000 crore for the purpose so there will be no dearth of funds for extending loans,” said Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout briefing reporters after the Agriculture Cabinet meeting.

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