While the figure for Vidarbha region would be Rs 20,401.56 crore (21.79%), it would be Rs 19,424.18 crore (20.75%) for Marathwada, the report stated.
WESTERN MAHARASHTRA, comprising six districts, would have the most access to agriculture crop loan and long term credit at Rs 34,058.05 crore, of the total Rs 93,618.36 crore allotted for the entire state, says National Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (NABARD) in its annual status paper of 2018-19. With this, the agriculture credit share of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Sholapur, Ahmednagar and Pune districts would come to 36.38 per cent of the allotted funds.
On the other hand, Vidarbha region with 11 districts and Marathwada with eight, which have a larger population of small and marginal farmers, would have less access to agriculture crop loan and long term credit. While the figure for Vidarbha region would be Rs 20,401.56 crore (21.79%), it would be Rs 19,424.18 crore (20.75%) for Marathwada, the report stated.
The paper, while highlighting the regional imbalance, also recommends measures for course correction. It urges banks to increase the coverage of crop loans by financing new farmers, particularly small and marginal ones, who are still not under the ambit of banking system.
In the state, almost 78 per cent of the total 1.37 crore farmers are in the small and marginal category, with average land holding size of less than 2 hectares. Of the total 36 districts in Maharashtra, 14 distress districts are in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, where farmers often find it hard to get access to bank crop loans. The report also pointed out the steady decline of the agriculture sector — from 50 per cent (in 2011-12) to 30 per cent to 40 per cent in last four years.
Moreover, the report stated that when it comes to non-farm sectors, regional analysis with regards to access to credit puts Mumbai and its suburbs — which have zero crop loan — ahead of all with Rs 10,9539.60 crore (73.76%) being allotted to them. It is attributed mainly to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
Of the total Rs 14,8499.15-crore projection for MSME (non-farm sector), western Maharashtra’s share would only be Rs 18,086.94 crore (12.18%), with Vidarbha at Rs 3,478.95 crore (2.34%) and Marathwada at Rs 5,903.07 crore (3.98%). North Maharashtra’s share would account at Rs 3648.87 crore (92.46%) and Konkan, Rs 7841.71 crore (5.28%).
While suggesting changes in tenancy laws to facilitate credit access to landless farmers and tenants, the report emphasises on digitisation of land records to enable banks to process farmers’ applications for crop loans.
An official in agriculture ministry said: “Higher credit flow to western Maharashtra, compared to Vidarbha and Marathwada, has its base in crop pattern. Crop loan for sugarcane is higher at Rs 95,000 per hectare compared to Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for cotton and soybean, respectively.”
Maharashtra Agriculture Price Commission chief Pasha Patel said: “The biggest hurdle in the agriculture sector is small and marginal farmers’ lack of access to financial institutions, which compounds their problems, driving them to private moneylenders.”