The Indian government launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package in July 2020. The AIF, a medium to long-term debt financing facility with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore, aims to facilitate investment in viable projects related to post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets. A press release on this matter was issued on 1st August, 2023.
Under the umbrella of AIF, all loans extended by lending institutions carry a 3% per annum interest subvention, applicable up to a limit of ₹2 crore. Additionally, eligible borrowers can avail credit guarantee coverage through the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for loans up to ₹2 crore. This coverage comes with the added benefit of the government covering the associated fees. The reimbursement of interest subvention and credit guarantee coverage will extend for a maximum period of 7 years. The operational timeline of the scheme spans from 2020-21 to 2032-33. The allocation of funds across states is outlined in the provided annexure.
Apart from the AIF scheme, several other initiatives are concurrently being executed to develop post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets:
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH): This mission offers assistance for the development of post-harvest management infrastructure for perishable horticulture crops. The scope includes the establishment of various facilities such as pack houses, pre-cooling units, cold storages, controlled atmosphere storage, and cold chain supply systems.
- Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure (AMI): Implemented under the Integrated Scheme for Agricultural Marketing (ISAM), this sub-scheme focuses on creating marketing infrastructure and scientific storage to minimize post-harvest losses. Beneficiaries include individuals, farmers, agri-preneurs, cooperatives, and state agencies, with capital subsidies available based on eligibility.
- Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (Infrastructure and Assets): Operating through the State Agriculture Infrastructure Development Programme (ASIDP), this initiative targets the establishment of key agriculture infrastructure such as laboratories, testing facilities, storage units, mobile vans, and more.
- Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM): Commenced in 2014, this initiative aims to extend mechanization benefits to small and marginal farmers. It promotes concepts like ‘Custom Hiring Centers’, widespread distribution of agricultural equipment, and capacity-building activities.
- Mission Organic Value Chain Development for NE Region (MOVCDNER): Since 2015-16, this scheme has supported certified organic production by offering comprehensive assistance ranging from production to marketing. It includes funding for infrastructure like processing units, pack-houses, and cold storage.