- Will meet Rs 16.5 lakh crore credit target this year, says NABARD chairman
- ‘Very upbeat about the agricultural machinery, crop sowing’: NABARD chairman
Even with an upward trend of COVID-19 cases in rural areas, the agricultural sector is likely to perform well, GR Chintala, chairman, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) asserted on Friday as he pointed to a good monsoon ahead.
“Agriculture sector is going to do well as the prognosis is that the monsoon is going to be very good and the commodity prices are on the upswing so the farmers will now be able to realise a better value for their produce. So, it is going to be a better season,” Chintala told CNBC-TV18.
He, however, admitted that due to shutdown-like curbs, farmers were not able to sell their produce of rabi crops. “Production of the rabi crops was at an all-time high but right now because of the selective lockdown in few of the states the mandis were closed so farmers were not able to dispose of their produce and that is why they are not able to realise the money,” Chintala said.
Following the restrictions imposed in several states due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector has been impacted by a rise in input cost. There has also been a decline in credit availability to farmers, followed by a slowdown in sales of agri machinery, and a decline in fertiliser consumption. The NABARD chairman, however, expressed confidence that the credit target of Rs 16.5 lakh crore, set by the government, will be met this year.
Chintala said, “Last year we had Rs 15 lakh crore target and the banking system had delivered around Rs 15.18 lakh crore. This year, we are very confident that Rs 16.5 lakh crore credit target, which the government has given, will be met.”
The top official, however, dismissed concerns regarding ferstilisers for now stating that the kharif season is yet to start. “Once the operations pick up, the fertilisers will be distributed.”
On the sales of agriculture machinery, he said, “...it is too early to conclude as we had seen last year, despite the complete lockdown for quite some time the agricultural machinery sales have shown a very robust growth.”
“Now let this pandemic fear go down maybe a bit by mid-June or anything, again the things will be very normal. We are very upbeat about the agricultural machinery and also the crop sowing,” Chintala said.