The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) collaborated with the Special Developmental Project to raise awareness among dairy farmers and implementation of other developmental goals for Sikkim. The state’s Agriculture Minister attended the event as its chief guest.
The Secretary of the Animal Husbandry Department – Dr. P Senthil Kumar shared, the Kisan Credit Card is meant only for cultivators, so far. It will also be covered under KCC and they can avail of loans up to Rs. 3 lakh, which can extend to Rs. 10 lakhs.
Meanwhile, the General Manager and Office In-charge of NABARD – Sanjay Kumar Gupta shared “the project envisages to maintain the credit facility of both member (MPCS) and other dairy farmers (especially small & marginal farmers) of the state, through Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) via a hassle-free manner with the benefit of prompt repayment incentive; enabling financial inclusion, options of digital transaction & door-step banking facility at MPCS; strengthening/infrastructure development of the MPCS.”
It aims to foster the provision of institutional credit to dairy farmers at the prescribed concessional rate of interest while facilitating the extension of prompt repayment incentive (PRI) for adequately meeting their working capital requirements, thus enhancing the productivity of the dairy sector.
It will lead to the elimination/reduction in the dependence of dairy farmers on money lenders/informal sources of credit while undertaking dairy activities.
“Dairy is the single largest economic activity under agriculture & allied sectors in the country as it employs about 80 million farmers, mostly living in rural areas. It also provides source of nutrition, additional income to the farmers, thus reducing dependence on crop agriculture. The dairy sector has grown substantially within the last few years. Due to a surge in economic activities, urbanization, and changing dietary preferences, the dairy sector has grown by 8.15% over the last five years ending 2020. Therefore, India is currently the largest milk-producing country in the world, producing around 210 million tonnes of milk (2020-21),” he continued.
Despite being the second smallest state in the nation, Sikkim has contributed significantly to the ongoing phase of the “White Revolution”.
The tiny Himalayan state, currently produces roughly around 230,000 litres of milk per day, and has registered a significant increase in production over the last few years.
A significant part of this production is procured by the existing network of Milk Producers’ Cooperative Societies (MPCS), which is currently around 60,000 litres per day, an increase of about 71% from 2019 (35,000 litre per day).
This enhancement in the production and procurement of milk can be attributed mainly to the scheme of the Sikkim Government through incentivizing dairy farmers to produce and supply milk through the network of Milk Cooperative Societies in the state.
Thus, the dairy sector emerged as a lifeline for the rural economy and farmers of Sikkim, especially women and small & marginal cultivators.
As per estimates, nearly 13,000 farmers of the state currently engaged in dairy activity linked through the existing network of 600 plus Milk Cooperative Societies/Collection Centres.
In his address, the Minister, the Sikkim Cabinet Minister – Lok Nath Sharma, underlined the state’s organic potential and highlighted the progressive dairy scenario in the state. He outlined the possibilities and future scope of exporting dairy products.