Price Stabilisation Fund to promote agri-businesses
The Dollar Business Bureau In a move to support the country’s agri-business, the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation on Tuesday, approved the inclusion of Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) as a Central Sector Scheme. The scheme, with a corpus of Rs 500 crore, is expected to support the market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities during 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. The PSF will be managed centrally by the PSF Management Committee (PSFMC) and is maintained in a Central Corpus Fund account to be opened by Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), which will act as Fund Manager. The PSF scheme will help states with advance interest-free loans to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution of various commodities and all the proposals from state governments and Central agencies will be approved by the PSFMC. The fund under the scheme has been proposed to be used only for onions and potatoes, informed Mohanbhai Kundaria, Minister of State for Agriculture, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The Central Corpus Fund will be released in two steps, one as a one-time advance to each state/UT-based on their proposals and the other to the Central agencies. In case of North-Eastern states, the state level corpus will comprise of 75% funds from Centre and 25% from the state. The Central government will share 50% of losses (75% in case of NE states), at the time of the settlement of advance on March 31, 2017 and also intends to share the profits’ ratio likewise. Meanwhile, in a move to ensure adequate availability of fruits and vegetables in domestic markets, the government has also taken measures to incentivize diversification towards high value products by promoting post-harvest management and market development and processing. The measures include assistance on capital cost for development of integrated post-harvest management and marketing infrastructure, which also includes establishment of cold storage, cold chain logistics, integrated value chains, among others. To further address the logistic gap between production clusters and marketing centres, the government is also taking various reforms including advocacy of reforms in state marketing laws to facilitate development of purchase centres in private and cooperative sector near the production cluster.
This article was published on April 21, 2015 – 5:43 pm IST.