With the help of $200 million loan from the World Bank, the Government of India wishes to transform Assam’s agri-business.
The project will help the State Government to facilitate agri-business investments, increase agriculture productivity and market access, and enable small farm holders produce crops.
The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Ravi Kota, Principal Secretary, Finance, Government of Assam, on behalf of the Government of Assam; and Hisham Abdo, Operations Manager, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
After the Agreement, Khare said that “Assam is simplifying several regulatory procedures related to doing business, agricultural marketing, and fisheries amongst others.The project will help the State increase agricultural productivity by strengthening the farming systems, raise private sector investments to promote agri-enterprises which will create better job opportunities for the youth in the State.”
The project will be implemented in over 16 sistricts of Assam and more than five lakh farming households will directly benefit from it.
It is estimated that atleast 30 per cent women are expected to participate in project activities.
Speaking on the occasion, Abdo said that “the Government of Assam aims to double farm incomes in the State and transform the agricultural sector into a stable source of growth and economic development. This project will serve as the nucleus to fulfill the State’s much larger vision of an agriculture-based rural transformation.”
Manivannan Pathy, Senior Agricultural Specialist and World Bank’s Team Leader for the Project said that “the value addition and market led production systems supported through the project are expected to play a vital role in enhancing the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.”
“This will be done by facilitating policy reforms, fostering private-public dialogue and catalyzing a wider private sector development in the agribusiness ecosystem of Assam.” he added.
The $200 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a seven-year grace period, and a maturity of 16.5 years.