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Agri Clinic and Agri-Business Center Scheme (ACABC)

In India, farmers face a number of challenges that include land consolidation, limited credit access, high cost of inputs, and unfavorable price realizations. More than 200 million of India’s farmers have small landholdings. Their operations are mostly subsistence-based, with limited income and livelihood options. Poor infrastructure, high outgo on account of working capital requirements, lack of credit, and poor market information further constrain the development of their potential in a sustainable manner. Although there have been efforts to develop an enabling policy environment and create institutional capacity for sustainable agriculture, there is still significant scope for improving the marketing practices of farmers’ organizations and farmer producer companies. In one such initiative, the government had launched the Agri Clinic and Agri-Business Center Scheme (ACABC)

Agri Clinic and Agri Business Center Scheme (ACABC) is a major flagship program of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is being implemented by NABARD to provide a focused and integrated approach in the field of agricultural development on a large scale.

Objectives of the Scheme

Agri Clinic and Agri Business Center Scheme (ACABC) was implemented during the year 2006-07 for the benefit of farmers. ACABC aims at supplementing efforts of public extension by providing extension and other services to farmers either on a payment basis or free of cost as per the business model of Agri-preneur or fees directly waived by State Governments. ACABC is seen as a means to provide gainful self-employment opportunities to unemployed agricultural graduates, diploma holders, intermediates in agriculture and biological sciences, postgraduates, and diploma holders in allied sciences in agriculture streams like Rural Management, Entrepreneurship Development, Crop Culture, and Soil Conservation under a unified umbrella but with different activities relating to these disciplines. It intends to create more employment opportunities for diploma holders and intermediate degree holders in agriculture into self-employment in villages while providing information support on new technologies and farming practices to farmers through various programs.

What are Agri-Clinic or Agri-Business Centers?

Agriculture is a key economic activity that must be treated as an integral part of the overall development of society and viewed as a guide for achieving economic growth. It is essential to ensure the availability of adequate resources in terms of technical, financial, and informational support. Therefore, these centers have been established.

Agri- Clinic – Agri-Clinic is an establishment (may be private or of the public sector, for-profit or not-for-profit) that provides services to farmers, especially small and marginal farmers. Agri-Clinics are a one-stop solution for farmers to get expert advice and services in a single location. The main purpose behind the setup of such clinics is to reduce the cost of inputs, improve the quality of outputs and provide remunerative returns for the farmers.It promotes a networked approach to farm-related services, research, and development. Soil health, crop practices, Plant protection, Crop insurance post-harvest technology, clinical services for animals, and feed and fodder management prices of various crops in the market are some of the areas in which agri-clinics should be specialized.

Agri-Business Centers – `Small and Marginal Farmers often face financial insecurity in agriculture. This is particularly acute during natural calamities like droughts. Access to finance, knowledge-based resources, training, post-harvest facilities, and linkages with markets are important aspects for the farmers to have a secure livelihood. Agri-Business Centers (ABCs) play a significant role in addressing this gap by providing a platform for small and marginal farmers to run agri-ventures along with professional expertise. Agri-Business Centers (ABCs) are commercial units that offer agriculture-related services and products, including input materials. They are meant for promoting self-employment and imparting training for the sustainable development of agriculture in rural areas.

Who can Take the Benefit

Below mentioned are the categories that can apply for the scheme and get trained to start their own agricultural business with the help of the given scheme amount:

  • Graduates in agriculture and allied subjects from State Agriculture Universities (SAUs)/Central Agricultural Universities/Universities recognized by ICAR/UGC.
  • Diploma (with at least 50% marks)/Post Graduate Diploma holders in Agriculture and allied subjects from State Agricultural Universities, State Agriculture and Allied Departments, and State Department of Technical Education.
  • Diplomas in Agriculture and allied subjects offered by other agencies are also applicable subject to the approval of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, GoI on the recommendation of the State Government
  • Biological Science Graduates with Post Graduation in Agriculture & allied subjects can also apply
  • Degree courses recognized by UGC as having more than 60 percent of the course content in Agriculture and allied subjects can apply
  • Diploma/Post Graduate Diploma courses with more than 60 percent of course content in Agriculture and allied subjects with Biological Sciences, from recognized colleges and universities, are eligible.
  • Agriculture-related courses at Intermediate (i.e. plus two) level, with at least 55% marks are also considerable.

Note: The subsidy would be admissible only in respect of agricultural graduates trained under the ACABC scheme on or after 1st April 2004.

Project Cost

So, what will the project cost be? The total budget for setting up an Agri-Clinic or Agri-Business Center depends primarily on the type of venture you choose to invest in. The ceiling of the project cost, however, has been enhanced to Rs. 20 lakhs for a single project (25 lakhs each for extremely successful projects). For groups, this ceiling increases to Rs. 100 lakhs, depending on the number of people involved in a project as well as its size and scope. In addition to this, you also get a 2-year moratorium on repayment (facility not available on margin money), so you can start enjoying the benefits of your new venture right away. The interest rate and margin are decided by the respective bank/NFCB as per RBI norms, but you’ll get all these details while applying. If the subsidy is concerned, then 36% subsidy is given to the general category applicants. Adding to it, SC, ST, and women applicants can get subsidies up to 44%.

Repayment Tenure

If you want to start an agricultural venture, you may be able to get a loan from the Agricultural and Business Center. You can borrow money for up to two years at a time, or until your business is up and running. After that, you will have 5 to 10 years to repay your loan with payments spread out over time. The interest rate on these loans is set by each bank—you should check with them to find out more about their rates.

Subsidy Release

Where to Apply:

Step 1: Interested applicant will have to submit the project proposal for term loan and subsidy to the Bank on the application form as prescribed by the concerned bank along with the project report and other supporting documents for appraisal and sanction of loan

Step 2: After the appraisal, sanction, and disbursement of the first installment of the loan the bank provides a brief project profile-cum-claim form for advance subsidy in the described format along with the bank’s sanction letter to the Regional Office (RO) of NABARD.

Step 3: Immediately after the loan is sanctioned, the subsidy will be deposited by NABARD with the disbursing bank upfront.

Step 4: The subsidy amount will be placed with NABARD H.O. in advance by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Govt. of India.

Step 5: Following the crediting of the subsidy in the Subsidy Reserve Fund Account of the applicant under the Scheme, a Utilization Certificate format will be submitted by the participating bank to NABARD

Step 4: In order to keep the security in mind, in case an unsatisfactory report is recorded during periodic/ surprise visits or where misutilization of subsidy has been noticed the financing bank shall refund the subsidy to NABARD for remitting to the GOI.

Toll-Free Helpline Number to get more details on the loan scheme: 1800-425-1556 and -9951851556(Call here)

Required Documents to Apply

As per Bank Requirements, the applicants should have the following documents with them while applying:

  1. Applicant Aadhaar Number.
  2. Email ID.
  3. Final Qualification.
  4. Applicant’s Bank Account Details.
  5. Applicant photo

Agri Clinic and Agri-Business Center Scheme (ACABC) Details

Collateral Security: As per Norms

Processing Fees: As per Norms

Scheme Validation: Still Active

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