November 24, 2017   
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New Delhi, Oct 31  India signed a $200 million loan agreement with World Bank on Monday to facilitate investment in the agricultural sector and increase productivity in Assam, an official statement said.

“The Government and the World Bank today (Monday) signed a $200 million loan agreement for the Assam Agri-business and Rural Transformation Project,” said the Union Finance Ministry statement.

“The project will support the Government of Assam to facilitate agri-business investments, increase agriculture productivity and market access, and enable small farm holders produce crops that are resilient to recurrent floods or droughts in the state,” it said.

The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 7-year grace period and maturity time of 16.5 years. It will be implemented in over 16 districts of Assam and over 5 lakh farming households will directly benefit from the project.

“At least 30 per cent women are expected to participate in project activities. Specific focus will be given to women- led enterprises and their participation in the decision-making process of farmer producer organisations,” the statement said.

Assam aims to double farm income and transform its agricultural sector into a stable source of growth and economic development, according to World Bank Operations Manager Hisham Abdo.

A key component of the project is promoting market-led production that can deal with the vagaries of climate change.

“Assam’s agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to climate variability and the state experiences recurrent floods and droughts,” the release said.

Currently, more than 50 per cent of the state’s paddy growing areas are prone to flooding, submergence and drought.

“A market-led production system will take advantage of the rapidly changing market, introduce crops that are resilient to climate change, increase production and manage risks for farmers,” the statement added.