Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Thursday launched the implementation guidelines for the Rs 15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) that seeks to boost processing capacities in dairy and meat segments.
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The fund was approved by the Union Cabinet on June 24 under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan stimulus package.

It aims to incentivise investment by individual entrepreneurs, private companies, MSMEs, Farmers Producers Organisation (FPOs) and Section 8 companies to establish dairy and meat processing and value addition infrastructure as well as animal feed plants, an official statement said.

As per the guidelines, the project under AHIDF would be eligible for loan up to 90 per cent of estimated cost from scheduled banks. The Centre will provide 3 per cent interest subsidy on these loans.

While releasing the guidelines, the Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister said the government is focusing on breed improvement to increase milk production as well as working towards enhancing processing capacities, the statement said.

India is producing 188 million tonne milk and this is set to increase to 330 million tonne by 2024. Only 20-25 per cent milk is being processed and the government is trying to bring the same up to 40 per cent.

He said the Dairy Processing Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) is being implemented for infrastructure development in cooperative sector and AHIDF is first such scheme for the private sector.

“Millions of farmers will be benefited once the infrastructure is created and more milk will be processed. This will also increase export of dairy products which is presently negligible. India needs to go up to the standards of countries like New Zealand in the dairy sector,” Singh said.

He expressed satisfaction that during COVID-19 lockdown, dairy farmers could maintain steady supply of milk to the consumers.

AHIDF has been set up as MSMEs and private companies also need to be promoted and incentivised for their involvement in processing and value addition infrastructure.

The eligible beneficiaries under the scheme would be FPOs, MSMEs, Section 8 companies, private companies and individual entrepreneurs with minimum 10 per cent margin money contribution by them. The balance 90 per cent would be the loan component to be made available by scheduled banks.

The Centre will provide 3 per cent interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries. There will be 2-year moratorium for principal loan amount and 6-year repayment period thereafter.

The central government would also set up Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs 750 crore to be managed by NABARD. Credit guarantee would be provided to those sanctioned projects which are covered under MSME defined ceilings, the statement said.

The guarantee coverage would be up to 25 per cent of credit facility of borrower. The beneficiaries intending to invest for establishing dairy and meat processing and value addition infrastructure or strengthening of the existing infrastructure can apply for loan in the scheduled bank through “Udyami Mitra” portal of SIDBI, it added.

There is huge potential waiting to be unlocked in investment through private sector, the statement noted.

The Rs 15,000 crore AHIDF and the interest subvention scheme for private investors will ensure availability of capital to meet upfront investment required for these projects and also help enhance overall returns/ pay back for investors, it said.

Since almost 50-60 per cent of final value of dairy output in India flows back to farmers, growth in this sector can have significant direct impact on the farmer”s income.

The investment incentivisation in AHIDF would not only leverage seven times private investment but would also motivate farmers to invest more on inputs thereby driving higher productivity leading to increase in farmers” incomes.

The measures approved through AHIDF would also help in direct and indirect livelihood creation for 35 lakh persons, the statement said.

Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Pratap Chandra Sarangi said the government has decided to vaccinate 53.5 crore animals and 4 crore animals have already been vaccinated, it said.

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