In the wake of the rising input costs for crops to be sown in the just started kharif marketing season, state farmers will have access to higher institutional finance from the Punjab State Cooperative Bank.
The bank will be lending an additional Rs 400 crore to farmers as term loans, extending the facility of cooperative liquidity. Loans will be extended through the primary agriculture credit societies (PACS). This has been possible after the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) increased refinance to the state cooperative bank from Rs 3,800 crore in 2019 to Rs 4,200 crore this year. The higher recovery rate of the previously advanced loans (recovery is higher by 7 per cent) has also helped in getting additional finance for the state cooperative bank.
The circle for seeking credit from the cooperative financial entities begins in July. This year, the cost of labour for paddy transplantation has increased by 60-70 per cent and the cost of insecticides and pesticides has increased by 15 per cent. Against this high input cost, the increase in price realisation (minimum support price) is just 2.9 per cent. As a result, financially stretched farmers will be looking at the credit from institutional and non-institutional sources.
“We have received additional Rs 1,000 crore for the regional rural banks as part of the stimulus package announced by the Centre to be given through NABARD. We are trying to get another Rs 1,000 crore to meet the credit needs,” Varun Roojam, managing director of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank (PSCB), told The Tribune.