The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is promoting Off- farm sectors to reduce rural West Bengal’s over dependence on agriculture, an official said. Around 20 per cent of the people of West Bengal still live below the poverty line and the average size of landholding is only 0.77 hectares, Nabard claimed.
“As 20 per cent of the people of West Bengal still live below the poverty line and the average size of land holding is only 0.77 hectares, Nabard was working on reducing the rural West Bengal’s over dependence on agriculture. Nabard is encouraging young entrepreneurs move towards the handloom sector,” Nabard DGM Kamalesh Kumar said on Saturday. He was speaking at a webinar on ‘Vocal for Local’ organised by Press Information Bureau, Kolkata and Field Outreach Bureau, Chuchura.
He said the development of the handloom sector will also arrest large scale migration of small and agricultural labourers to the urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities on account of unemployment. With the objective of arresting such migration, Nabard is putting more thrust on the formation of Off-Farm Producer Organisations or OFPOs with the support of the rural weavers, craftsmen or artisans to take up collective business activities and generate local employment through value addition, Kumar said.
According to Rajesh Chatterjee, Deputy Director, Weavers Service Centre, Kolkata, the Centre always encourages in technical skill upgradation, cluster development and also helps in getting Mudra loan benefits for specific handloom schemes. He said the Centre also provides technical support to the skilled weavers and helps in e-marketing of their products and in this way it is helping nearly 5.5 lakh weavers of West Bengal.