National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard) has launched a dedicated lending window for providing loans for creating storage infrastructure for agricultural produce across the country.
The `Nabard Warehousing Scheme 2013-14 (NWS)', with a corpus of Rs5,000 crore, envisages direct lending to both public and private sector as well as PPP projects for construction of warehouses, silos, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure.
Storage Infrastructure projects of state governments, state government undertakings, SPVs set up under PPP mode, cooperatives, federations, cooperative federations, APMCs, state level boards, apex marketing boards / bodies, panchayats, private companies and private entrepreneurs, etc, will be eligible for loans from under the scheme.
The warehouses and cold storages created under this scheme will have to conform to the norms prescribed by the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), Nabard said in a release.
The scheme, which is intended to meet the growing demand for storage capacity for agricultural commodities in the country, also aims at servicing the National Food Security programme.
"Priority will be given for the projects proposed in Eastern and North Eastern states and all other deficit states from the food grain production point of view," Nabard said in a statement.
According to Nabard, in Maharashtra alone, as per present estimates, there exists a storage gap of 2.82 million tonnes for warehouses and 1.59 million tonnes for cold storages. The gap exists across all the districts of the state, although in varying quantities, for both warehousing and cold storage, Nabard pointed out.
"It is expected that about 10 million tonnes of additional modern storage would be created out of funding from NWS 2013-14 on a all India basis, which would greatly benefit implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013-14 as well as help farmers in terms of better price realisation and post harvest loans," the statement stated.