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Horticulture hub no more? Anantapur may lose tag as lack of funds for drip irrigation hit district

Anantapur district, which used to be at the forefront of utilising funds for drip irrigation and covering a large extent of land every year for the past three consecutive years in the country, might lose that distinction as the State government has not yet released funds for the purpose.
 
Even countrywide, Andhra Pradesh (7.17 lakh ha), which currently holds the second position after Karnataka (8.16 lakh ha) in covering largest area under micro-irrigation, utilising the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) funds might go further down with Gujarat (7 lakh hectares) following AP. 
 
For the 2020-21 financial year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has provisioned ₹400 crore under the scheme for Andhra Pradesh.
 
No decision has been taken yet on the modalities of providing subsidy through the A.P. Micro Irrigation Project (APMIP) to 4,250 farmers, who have registered themselves to avail of the facility in 6,345 hectares. 
 
Close to ₹140 crore, last year’s due, is yet to be released to 37 companies, who had supplied the material. The APMIP Anantapur on its part has completed the field verification also for 1,345 applicants.
 
While making the tentative allocation under the ‘Per Drop More Crop Component’ of the PMKSY for the year 2020-21 (₹3,645.00 crore for the entire country), ₹400 crore has been apportioned for Andhra Pradesh and a decision has been taken to revalidate the unutilised funds of the previous year by providing the utilisation certificates.
 
Area covered under project
 
Andhra Pradesh had taken a loan of ₹616.14 crore through the NABARD against expenditure made during 2019-20. The area covered under the projects is 1.021 lakh ha in the State. Anantapur district APMIP covered 35,885 ha in the 2017-18 fiscal benefiting 30,535 farmers; 34,105 ha in 2018-19 (27,576 farmers) and 29,065 ha in 2019-20 (22,697 farmers).
 
Through drip irrigation and sprinklers, currently in Anantapur district, 65,000 hectares of vegetable crops are irrigated followed by 52,000 ha of sweet lime, 28,000 ha of papaya, 22,200 ha of banana, 16,000 ha of melons, and another 16,000 ha of mango. 
 
The demand is likely to go up in the coming days in the new areas with groundwater table increasing in some pockets and tanks filling during the unprecedented rains.

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