Kolkata: West Bengal is predominantly an agrarian State. Comprising of only 2.7% of India’s geographical area, it supports nearly 8% of its population. There are 71.23 lakh farm families of whom 96% are small and marginal farmers.
The Agriculture Department, Government of West Bengal is working in a mission mode for development of Agriculture and Allied sector in a holistic manner with the vision of “Doubling farmers’ income by 2020 by ensuring farmers’ access to Skills, Technologies, Markets and Financial inclusion”.
With an objective to increase credit to farmers, the Bengal Government is going to upgrade 250 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) to banking outlets. These would come up in 250 gram panchayat areas, comprising 700 villages.
The State Cooperation Department has started the process of setting up the financial institutions already in some parts. The primary objective of the scheme is to improve the socio-economic condition of people involved in various agricultural sectors.
It may be mentioned that under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, farmers’ income in Bengal has doubled the last six years.
However, the State is bestowed with diverse natural resources and varied agro-climatic conditions which support cultivation of a wide range of crops. West Bengal ranks first in paddy and vegetable production in the country. It stands second in potato production (after Uttar Pradesh). It is also the leading producer of jute, pineapple, litchi, mango and loose flowers. Cultivation of pulses, oilseeds and maize is also picking up fast.