PACS as ‘drone entrepreneurs’ for spraying fertiliser
ContextAs per the information from Cooperation ministry, government is planning to employ Primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) as ‘drone entrepreneurs’ for spraying fertilisers and pesticides in fields to achieve the last mile coverage and high yield.
- Recently, the Budget 2023-24 has announced 2, 516 crores for the computerisation of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) over the next five years.
- The budget aims to bring greater transparency and accountability in their operations and enable them to diversify their business and undertake more activities.
- There are about 1 lakh Primary Agricultural Credit Cooperative Societies present across the country which are not functioning as ‘fertiliser retailers’ will be identified and encouraged to function as retailers.
- The PACS which are not currently functioning as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samridhi Kendras will be brought under their ambit.
- The PACS will be connected with the marketing of organic fertilisers, especially Fermented Organic Manure/ Liquid Fermented Organic Manure / Phosphate Enriched Organic Manure.
- Fertiliser companies will act as an ‘aggregator’ for small bio-organic producers to market the end product, in this supply and marketing chain of bio-organic fertilizers PACS will also be included as wholesalers/retailers.
- PACS are village level cooperative credit societies that serve as the last link in a three-tier cooperative credit structure headed by the State Cooperative Banks (SCB) at the state level.
- Maintaining the supply of the hired light machinery for agricultural purposes.
- To arrange for supplying agricultural inputs. Examples –are seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, kerosene, etc.
- It will carry out activities like the sale of gas and petrol and the storage and marketing of dairy and farm products to alleviate poverty and empower women.
- It helps its members by providing marketing facilities that could enhance the sale of their agricultural products in the market at the proper prices.
- Generating optimum financial benefits for people engaged in animal husbandry and allied sectors.
- Since these are cooperative bodies, individual farmers are members of the PACS, and office-bearers are elected from within them. A village can have multiple PACS.
- PACS are involved in short-term lending known as crop loans.
- At the start of the cropping cycle, farmers avail credit to finance their requirement of seeds, fertilisers etc.
- Banks extend this credit at 7 per cent interest, of which 3 per cent is subsidised by the Centre, and 2 per cent by the state government.
- Effectively, farmers avail the crop loans at 2 per cent interest.
- While State Cooperative Banks and District Cooperative Banks are connected to the Core Banking Software (CBS), PACS are not.
- Some PACS use their own software, but a compatible platform is necessary to bring about uniformity in the system.
|The computerisation of PACS has already been taken up by a few states, including Maharashtra.|
- The use of drone in agriculture is helpful to farmers as it have some distinct advantages such as high field capacity and efficiency, less turnaround time and other field operational delays, wastage reduction of pesticide and fertilizers due to high degree of atomization.
- Water saving due to ultra-low volume spraying technology in comparison to traditional spraying methods, reduction in cost of spraying and fertilizer application in comparison to conventional methods etc. besides reduction of human exposure to hazardous chemicals.