By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, May 11, 2019: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced a relief package for farmers affected by the Fani cyclonic storm.

The package covers the extensive damage wreaked on the farmers’ crops in fields as well as agri infrastructure by the summer storm.

The CM announced an agricultural input subsidy for small and marginal farmers who sustained crop losses of 33 per cent and beyond. The subsidy is pegged at Rs 6800 per hectare of land in rain fed and non-irrigated areas, Rs 13500 per hectare of land in areas under assured irrigation and Rs 18000 per hectare for all types of perennial crops. The agricultural input subsidy for any affected farmer would not be less than Rs 2000 for perennial crops and Rs 1000 for other crops.

Over and above the subsidy sum, the relief package vowed to provide 5000 pump sets at 50 per cent subsidy, with a cap of Rs 15,000. A farm mechanization subsidy of Rs 150 crore will also be disbursed to the districts affected by the catastrophic storm.

On farm credit, the government package has spelt out a suite of measures. Short-term crop loans advanced in the affected districts with crop loss of at least 33 per cent in Rabi season of 2019 will be converted into medium-term loans. To facilitate the change in loan tenor, the deadline for short-term loans disbursed in the affected districts has been extended up to June 30, 2020.

The state government also will take prompt steps to organise Joint Liability Groups by covering maximum number of sharecroppers to provide them credit in the current Kharif season. Farmers impacted by Fani cyclonic storm will also get fresh finance for Kharif cultivation in the ongoing Kharif season.

The package also covers livelihood support initiatives for farmers engaged in dairy and fisheries sectors and artisans in handicrafts and handloom sectors.

For Self Help Groups (SHGs) run by women, the package promises Rs 10000 as additional seed money to the affected groups who had pursued livelihood activities. More, a Community Investment Fund of Rs one lakh per SHG will be provided to 15000 groups to facilitate loans for needy households in the extremely affected districts.

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