Mumbai: SMART project to be relaunched for farmers

Mumbai: The Uddhav Thackeray government has decided to relaunch State of Maharashtra's Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project funded by World Bank, which was launched by Devendra Fadnavis government a year before.

The project is aimed at increasing the income of farmers. The Thackeray government has proposed to invest Rs 2100 crore for this project. A power point presentation on this project was made before the state cabinet on Wednesday at its meeting.

Out of Rs 2100 Crore, the World Bank will contribute Rs 1470 Crore, the state will contribute Rs 560 Crore, and Rs 70 crore will be raised through the Corporate Social Responsibility fund. The project will be completed in the next seven years.

The objective of the project is to create and support value chains in the post-harvest segments of agriculture, facilitate agribusiness investment, stimulate SMEs within the value chain, support resilient agriculture production systems, expand access to new and organised markets for producers, and enhance private sector participation in the agribusiness.

"We have decided to focus on strengthening farmers' companies in this project. Though the Fadnavis government announced that it will implement this project, they did not complete the process of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

After we came to power, we wanted to revisit this project. We presented this before the cabinet and the ministers gave very useful suggestions," Dada Bhuse, Agriculture Minister told FPJ.

The state cabinet also appointed a cabinet sub-committee to suggest measures for the effective implementation of the crop insurance scheme. In 10 districts, no crop insurance companies came forwarded for insurances of the Rabi season crop in 2019.

The state government is facing a challenge on how to compensate these farmers. "The sub-committee will suggest measures for this problem of the Rabi crop. It will also suggest steps to tackle this problem for the Khariff season of 2020," the press statement said.