Kerala set to land $200m World Bank loan for agricultural sector – The New Indian Express

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By Express press service

KOCHI: The government of Kerala is negotiating with the World Bank for a loan of $200 million to revitalize its agricultural sector, focusing mainly on agricultural production enterprises and value-added products.

Senior officials are confident they can secure the loan, which will amount to around 1,400 to 1,500 crore, and said it will take around six months to get final approval. RK Singh, finance secretary of Kerala, told TNIE that the loan would require a NoC (NoC) certificate/comments from relevant central government departments. “Assessment and finalization by the World Bank will likely take about six more months,” he said.

Singh said there would be no major conditions attached, except for performance-based ones, which include the establishment of FPOs (agricultural producer organizations), and these will be disbursed over a three-year period. According to the outline of the loan agreement being developed, the loan amount will be repaid based on performance and money spent.

In the last budget, Finance Minister KN Balagopal announced that the state will use the information technology network to market agricultural products. For this, a pilot project will be launched this year in two districts of the State. Agricultural producer enterprises, cooperative societies and agricultural markets would be included in this program, he said. The finance minister has also set aside Rs 10 crore for this. As for value-added products, the budget announced plans for those products using easily perishable crops like tapioca, other tubers, cashew, mango, jackfruit, different types of bananas, d other fruits, spices, etc.

The state budget also announced the creation of five agroparks with the participation of farmers and the infra funding agency KIIFB. The government also planned to start a factory to produce value-added products using milk to strengthen the dairy sector. The government is likely to use the World Bank loan for these projects, we learned.

In June 2021, the World Bank approved a $125 million program to support Kerala’s preparedness against natural disasters, climate change impacts, epidemics and pandemics. This loan was under the “Kerala Resilient Program”.

KOCHI: The government of Kerala is negotiating with the World Bank for a loan of $200 million to revitalize its agricultural sector, focusing mainly on agricultural production enterprises and value-added products. Senior officials are confident they can secure the loan, which will amount to around 1,400 to 1,500 crore, and said it will take around six months to get final approval. RK Singh, finance secretary of Kerala, told TNIE that the loan would require a NoC (NoC) certificate/comments from relevant central government departments. “Assessment and finalization by the World Bank will likely take about six more months,” he said. Singh said there would be no major conditions attached, except performance-based ones, which include the establishment of FPOs (agricultural producer organizations), and that they will be disbursed over a three-year period. According to the outline of the loan agreement being developed, the loan amount will be repaid based on performance and money spent. In the last budget, Finance Minister KN Balagopal announced that the state would use the information technology network to market agricultural products. For this, a pilot project will be launched this year in two districts of the State. Agricultural producer enterprises, cooperative societies and agricultural markets would be included in this program, he said. The finance minister has also set aside Rs 10 crore for this. As for value-added products, the budget announced plans for those products using easily perishable crops like tapioca, other tubers, cashew, mango, jackfruit, different types of bananas, d other fruits, spices, etc. The state budget also announced the creation of five agroparks. with the participation of farmers and the infra-financier KIIFB. The government also planned to start a factory to produce value-added products using milk to strengthen the dairy sector. The government is likely to use the World Bank loan for these projects, we learned. In June 2021, the World Bank approved a $125 million program to support Kerala’s preparedness against natural disasters, climate change impacts, epidemics and pandemics. This loan was under the “Kerala Resilient Program”.

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