Maharashtra has farmers in a bind as cooperative banks lag in the disbursal of crop loans
Maharashtra farmers are struggling to mobilise money to meet expenses for Kharif cultivation with several district cooperative banks yet to disburse 50% crop loan.
Against the state government’s target of Rs 13,923.10 crore, cooperative banks have cumulatively disbursed only 66.15% crop loan for the cropping season, so far.
Claiming that meeting the 100% target by June end was not possible, officials in the cooperation and marketing department have attributed the 33.85% target shortfall to the poor financial condition in at least half a dozen banks.
Some cooperative banks have either not extended a loan at all, while others have achieved only a certain percentage of crop loan disbursal instead of 100% disbursal.
In the Vidarbha region, to cope with the farmers’ demand in the district, the state government has now urged the district collector to get commercial and rural banks to step in. While in western Maharashtra, Sangli District Cooperative Bank has assured to enhance the process and meet farmers’ demands within a week.
A senior official in the cooperative department said that of the total 31 district cooperative banks in Maharashtra, Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank essentially caters to the urban population. So, the crop loan process is done through the remaining 30 cooperative banks.
Furthermore, Wardha bank (of the Vidarbha region) has been discounted as it is financially wrecked. This leaves only 29 cooperative banks in operation.
Of the total 1.56 crore farmers in the state, the official said, an estimated 69 lakh farmers will avail crop loans. “For the first time, Maharashtra Minister of Cooperation and Marketing Balasaheb Patil has not only given a crop loan target but also a farmers’ target to bring greater accountability in the system,” he said.
The minister has also urged the cooperative banks should go the extra mile to maximise the loan disbursement to farmers, especially those in the small and marginal category.