In a bid to smoothen credit flow for agriculture, the State Bank of India (SBI) is aiming to reach out to 10 lakh farmers through meetings at 15,500 rural and semi-urban branches across the country on June 8.
"At a time when the farm sector is going through a period of stress in various states, the SBI has taken the initiative to reach out to the farmers," the SBI said here in a statement on Tuesday.
During the meetings on Thursday, the branches would receive applications for fresh loans as well as for renewal or enhancement of existing loans, the largest public lender said.
"In view of the upcoming Kharif season, we have instructed branches to actively pursue lending to farmers in line with the scale of finance fixed for various crops," Rajnish Kumar, Managing Director - National Banking Group, SBI, said.
For crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh, the effective interest rate was only four per cent per annum, if the repayment was made on time, Kumar said.
As the Met Department has predicted a normal monsoon, the bank expects credit off-take to be good this season, he said.
Agriculture in the country had witnessed a growth of 4.1 percent in 2016 and the trend was likely to continue, Kumar added.
As on March 31, the SBI had reported a growth of Rs 9,000 crore under agriculture financing with improvement in recovery. SBI's market share under agricultural finance has increased to 29 percent.
Post-merger, SBI had a total loan outstanding of Rs 2,70,000 crore in the agriculture segment.