Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today stressed the need to focus on group farming and creating water storage structures like farm ponds to increase the productivity of crops.
"Our target this year is to increase the productivity of crops. Each district must take this mission and plan accordingly," Fadnavis told a meeting held here to discuss kharif season.
The meeting was attended by state ministers, district collectors, and divisional commissioners.
"We need to focus more on group farming, cluster-based approach and also on creating water storage structures in the next two months," the CM said.
He directed all ministers to organise a 'loan mela' in each district of the state and asked collectors to plan details for the 'loan melas' minutely.
"We have constituted a committee under ACS, Finance, to bring back farmers, left out of credit system, into the institutional credit system," the CM said.
Fadnavis congratulated departments of Agriculture, Marketing, and Cooperative for doing a proper planning last year, which, he said has resulted into the state achieving a double-digit growth rate in agriculture.
"Agriculture Universities and other departments can come together for the purpose of studying, planning crop pattern and guiding farmers from time to time," he said, adding that the work for building farm ponds under 'Jalyukt Shivar scheme' would be completed on a mission mode and funds will be made available.
Fadnavis said that every farmer should be brought under the crop insurance cover.
"We are praying for good monsoon, but at the same time we have to be prepared and ready with a mitigation plan anticipating any kind of situation," he said.
Fadnavis said new benchmarks should be set to "consolidate our positive agriculture growth from 12.5 per cent upward by focusing on intensive cropping pattern, by better water building and management, and by enhancing production".
He said a sub-committee is formed under ACS (Additional Chief Secretary), Finance, comprising secretaries of departments of Agriculture, Cooperative, Water Conservation, Nabard chief regional officer, and representatives of the RBI.
"The sub-committee has been asked to prepare a model to optimise available network so as to bring every farmer under the institutional credit," the CM said.
He said around 10-12 district cooperative banks are currently reeling under financial distress and need strengthening of resources.
"However, overall district cooperative banks have better infrastructure in place in rural areas.
"Commercial and national banks with higher capital adequacy can collaborate with the district cooperative banks having better rural infrastructure, to strengthen their network to bring farmers under institutional credit," he said.
Citing India Meteorological Department's (IMD's) prediction for good monsoon this year, the CM appealed to guardian ministers of various districts to "maximise the infrastructure work to optimise the storage of rain water".
Stressing the need to shift from macro to micro planning, the CM said that our focus should be to make farmers adaptable to changes in crop pattern.
"Through a team work, our next target should be to take up the challenge of doubling the farm production and ensuring higher renumeration to farmers. Simultaneously, we are working towards drip irrigation and (shifting to) intensive cropping pattern to maximise agri yield," he said.