Mumbai, December 6: Aiming to lift up farming by making it sustainable, the Maharashtra state government has decided on starting up its ambitious project. Enabling farming sustainability in almost ten thousand villages in the next three years, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a ‘SMART’- State of Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation project.
The objective of the project is to create and support the value chains in 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.
Maharashtra governments this ambitiously SMART project has been undertaken on a large scale which ultimately covers one fourth of Maharashtra. The project SMART will be assisted by the World Bank.
This project basically focuses on the villages that are reeling under the worst agriculture crisis compounded by lack of infrastructure and assured value chains to channelize the farm produce. Maharashtra covers around 40,913 villages.
CM Fadnavis said, “The project is a giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of the farmers. The government is committed to sustainable agriculture. The aim is to ensure higher production of crops and create robust market mechanism to enable farmers to reap higher remunerations for the yield.”
While explaining the model of public-private partnership to develop agriculture, the chief minister said, “The welfare of the farmers is integral to the rural economy. The farmers will play an important role in the project. This project unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them a common platform. Through this meaningful partnership change will emerge across rural as well as livelihood of farmers across the state.”
The project, which will be implemented in 10,000 villages comprising 10,000 gram panchayats which were shortlisted by the state government based on multiple parameters of socio-economic backwardness in terms of development and growth.
World Bank country director Ahmad Junaid said, “We are glad to be partners with Maharashtra. The farmers are the backbone of any state or country. We will provide funds and full support for the project which relates to farmers prosperity, food security.”
Launching the project, Maharashtra has signed 50 memorandum of understandings (MoUs) attracting big corporate and farmers producer groups. Amongst the corporate houses which have pledged support and signed MoUs include Reliance Retail, Amazon, Walmart, Mahindra Agro, Pepsico, Tata Rallis, Big Basket, Patanjali, Tata Chemical, Happy Roots, Mera Kisan, Way Cool and others.