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  • Agricultural Loans in India

    Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy and it definitely comes as no surprise to see financial institutions offer monetary aid to farmers all across the country. Agricultural loans are available for different kinds of farming-related activities.

    Types of Agricultural Loans in India

    One can avail a loan for the following activities related to agriculture:

    • Running day to day operations
    • Buying farm machinery such as tractors, harvesters, et cetera
    • Purchasing land
    • Storage purposes
    • Product marketing loans
    • Expansion

    Moreover, these financial aids can be offered in form of grants and subsidies too, which are usually meant to protect the farmer in an event of crop damage or loss of crops.

    Agricultural loans in India are not only offered to farmers working towards the cultivation of food crops, but they are available to anyone who is engaged in other agriculture-related sectors like horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, silk farming, apiculture and floriculture.

    National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

    In India, all premier banking and financial organisations, at all levels, offer a great deal of financial help to farmers. However, this trend of boosting the rural economy and agriculture through financial credit was started by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) back in the early 1980s. When it comes to credit in the field of agriculture, all other banks throughout the country fall under the purview of the NABARD.

    This financial institution is working in conjunction with the Government of India to boost agriculture sector. It is credited with several innovative schemes that have immensely aided the farmers throughout the country. The most notable scheme launched by the NABARD is the Kisan Credit Card (KCC).

    Kisan Credit Card Scheme

    The Kisan Credit Card is a scheme launched by the Indian banks back in 1998, as a way to fulfill the financial necessities of the agricultural sector. This is done by giving monetary support to farmers, which in turn comes with various features and benefits. The quantum of the loan depends on several factors like cost of cultivation, farm maintenance cost, et cetera.

    This has been particularly beneficial for those farmers who are not aware of the banking practices. Moreover, it is meant to protect farmers from harsh and informal creditors, which may land them in a massive debt.

    The farmers can use the KCC card to withdraw funds for the purpose of crop production and domestic requirements.

    Applying for the Kisan Credit Card is a simple, hassle-free process that requires minimal documentation. It also offers crop insurance coverage, along with subsidies on interest payments. Speaking of interest, farmers applying for loans under the KCC scheme can borrow funds at 7 percent per annum, for amounts up to Rs. 3 lakh.

    The Kisan Credit Card is linked to the farmer’s savings account and all the transactions are done under a single account. Additionally, any credit balance in the KCC account earns interest. All farmers can apply for a KCC and if you are looking to apply for one, then visit your nearest bank for more information.

    Other Similar Types of Agricultural Loan Schemes

    The NABARD has also helped greatly in developing a couple of other schemes, targeting specific sectors. A few of them are listed below:

    • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme: This scheme is meant to promote the dairy sector, specifically by setting up modernized dairy farms, promoting calf rearing, provide infrastructure, upgrading logistical operations to improve the product on a commercial scale, and generate self-employment.
    • Rural Godowns: The main objective of this scheme is to help farmers throughout the country by providing them with godowns. This will, in turn, improve their holding capacity drastically and as a result, they will be able to sell their produce at fair rates, rather than selling them under distress. In addition to this, with a nationalised warehouse system in place, the marketing of agricultural produce becomes simpler.
    • Loan Against Warehouse Receipts: Warehouse receipt financing serves as a foolproof way to prevent distress sales. When a farmer needs funds, post-harvest, all he has to do is store his produce in a Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) accredited warehouse, which in turn issues him a receipt. This warehouse receipt mentions important details like quality and quantity of the produce, and can be used to get credit from banks, up to 70 percent of the collateral value.
    • Solar Schemes: These schemes were implemented in order to reduce dependence on grid power by promoting the use of solar equipment. The idea here is to replace diesel pumps with solar ones, considering that they have low operating costs and are environment-friendly.

    The official website of NABARD can be visited for more details on these schemes, along with the information on how to apply for them. Since many of these are subsidy based schemes, your bank will adjust your loan repayments against the corresponding subsidy you are entitled to, through the funds released by NABARD.

    Leading Banks that offer Agricultural Loans in India

    Coming to the public-sector banks in India, there are several leading financial institutions who are known for their exceptional credit services in agriculture-related sectors. Some of these banks are mentioned below.

    State Bank of India Agricultural Loans

    State Bank of India is a leader in financing projects in the agriculture sector. They have helped millions of farmer across the country through their 16,000 plus branches. They offer a variety of products like Kisan Credit Card, gold loan for crop production and multi-purpose gold loan for agriculture activities.

    SBI also offers agriculture loans for mechanisation of farms. The funds from these loans can be used to purchase combine harvesters, tractors and install drip irrigation. Moreover, loans for activities related to dairy, poultry or fisheries can also be availed. Credit can be taken against warehouse receipts.

    The bank also offers Debt Swapping Scheme, wherein financial aid is offered to farmers to help them clear their dues that have been produced by taking loans from non-institutional lenders like loan sharks, money lenders, et cetera. The main goal of this scheme is to help farmers become debt free and clear their loans coupled with atrocious interest rates.

    Lastly, one can look to SBI for financial help if they are looking to boost their agricultural marketing, establish agribusiness and agri clinic centres or purchase land.

    State Bank of India offers these loans and services through their parent branches, as well as their seven associate subsidiaries - State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Indore and State Bank of Saurashtra.

    If you are looking to avail any of these agricultural loans offered by the State Bank of India, then all you have to do is visit your nearest SBI branch for more details and application.

    HDFC Bank Agricultural Loans

    The HDFC Bank offers a variety of agriculture loans for farmers and agriculturists. The purpose of these loans varies across a broad spectrum, starting from installation of orchards and plantations to promotion of commercial horticulture and production of field crops. Furthermore, the HDFC bank also offers warehouse receipt financing to all farmers and small traders.

    Allahabad Bank Agricultural Loans

    Allahabad Bank is another nationalised bank in India which offers the Kisan Credit Card under its Akshay Krishi scheme. Needless to mention, the features of the plan are the same as that of the KCC scheme. All farmers, tenant farmers, and cultivator owners, et cetera.

    In fact, Allahabad Bank has gone the extra mile to come up with its own version of Kisan Credit Card. This one is known as the Allahabad Bank Potato Growers Credit Card Scheme and its main objective is to provide sufficient financial support in a timely manner to farmers, to help them meet their cultivation requirements.

    Just like the State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank offers other services like warehouse receipt financing, debt swapping scheme, construction of rural godown, et cetera.

    Bank of Baroda Agricultural Loans

    Bank of Baroda is another leading name people look to when it comes to availing loans for agricultural purposes. They have various schemes, covering almost all the sectors in agriculture.

    For instance, one can take loans to purchase tractors and heavy machinery needed for day to day operations. Moreover, Bank of Baroda also offers working capital and funds required for either setting up units, or running units occupied with dairy, pig farms, poultry, sericulture, rearing of sheep and goat, et cetera.

    Farmers can also look to the bank if they are in need of a four-wheeler to help them manage their farm activities better. Bank of Baroda offers four-wheeler loans with a maximum quantum of Rs. 15 lakh.

    Punjab National Bank Agricultural Loans

    Punjab National Bank has myriad financial products related to agriculture. For example, one can avail loans from the PNB to establish biogas units, develop wastelands, set-up minor irrigation apparatus, et cetera. In addition to this, people who are interested in pursuing the field of apiculture (beekeeping) can approach Punjab National Bank for financial support.

    The bank also offers warehouse receipt financing, along with insurance coverage and financial support to farmers in the event of crop failure, owing to natural disasters, diseases, and pests. This scheme is known as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. All of this is in addition to the regular financial services offered to farmers like Kisan Credit Card, debt swapping, et cetera.

    Axis Bank Agricultural Loans

    Axis Bank has done well to earn a splendid reputation in the world of agricultural finance. Over the years, they have greatly helped farmers through their diversified financial products such as gold loans, Kisan Credit Card, tractor loans, warehouse receipt financing, loans for developing rural godowns and many more.

    Axis Bank also offers a product known as Contract Farming, wherein loan agreements are made between farmers and corporates. The amount is provided by the lender instantly for production and supply of the produce, and all of it is governed by the Fair Practices Lending Code.

    Before taking any kind of loan, it is recommended that you research carefully and figure out the type of loan works best for you. Since a huge variety of agricultural loans are offered, finding the one that fits suits your purpose is absolutely crucial.


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