To help farmers cope with economic hardships during the COVID-19 crisis, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday said his government has procured farm produce worth Rs 1,100 crore so far in the lockdown period.
"A total of 5,60,000 tonne of agricultural produce was procured in the last eight months by spending Rs 2,200 crore. Out of this, Rs 1,100 crore was spent on procurement during the COVID-19-affected period alone," the chief minister said in a brainstorming session with agri-experts and farmers.
Jagan also stressed that the state government had procured perishable commodities for the first time to help farmers. In the meeting, the Chief Minister highlighted a number of measures taken to support the farming community, an official statement said.
For instance, about 46.89 lakh beneficiaries have benefited from the 'Rythu Bharosa' scheme under which the government is providing Rs 13,500 to each farmer annually, he said.
Of this, about Rs 7,500 is given to the farmers in May for buying crop inputs before the sowing, while a sum of Rs 4,000 and Rs 2000 is given in October and January, respectively, to meet harvesting expenditure.
The state government is also giving free farm insurance cover. Farmers would only have to pay a nominal amount of Rs 1 for the insurance, rest of the premium will be paid to the companies by the government, he said.
Under the 'YSR Sunna Vaddi Scheme', the state government has also decided to bear the cost of the interest levied on crop loans taken by the farmers, effectively making them zero-interest loans for the farmer. The government is due to pay Rs 2,000 crore as interest to the lending authorities in July.
Besides, the state is providing 9 hours of free electricity, setting up of district and mandal-level agricultural advisory boards as well as 'Rythu Bharosa Kendras' which will soon be a one-stop solution for all farmer-related issues in the near future, the statement added.
The YSRCP government will complete its first year in office on May 30.