But they are smaller in comparison with those found in Punjab and Haryana
Gujarat has acquired the distinction of having the largest number of agricultural godowns and storage sites in rural areas, the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has said.
The number of rural godowns in Gujarat touched 5,293 with a total storage capacity of 14.97 lakh metric tonnes. But they are smaller as compared to those found in Punjab and Haryana, NABARD General Manager (technical) M K Dhingra said.
He said a survey has revealed that the godowns in Gujarat are generally used by farmers to store their own produce, which indicates the sense of enterprise among them. The storage facilities allow farmers to protect their produce from the vagaries of nature and sell them in the market only when they are assured of a better return.
In Punjab and Haryana though, the godowns are not directly used by the farmers, but are leased by the owners to the government agencies. This implies that in Gujarat, farmers are directly involved in the construction of godowns, which is not the case in Punjab and Haryana, Dhingra added.
He said the rural godowns in Gujarat are increasing in number. NABARD receives proposals for 1,000 to 1,200 godowns from farmers every year and almost all of them are cleared, with the banks extending the required loan to the farmers.
Dhingra added that the proposals for rural godowns are coming from Mehsana and Deesa, where farmers have taken to commercial cultivation in the last few years. Deesa has emerged as a potato growing area and Mehsana as a spice producing belt.
But all the godowns are given 25 per cent subsidy on the total cost, up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh under the Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) of the Central government, he said.
The Centre came up with this scheme after the country faced a severe shortage of potatoes and onions in the late nineties owing to a lack of storage facility in the rural areas.