Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar has called upon banking institutions to ensure that the funds earmarked for farmers’ welfare are not diverted to unproductive purposes.

He was inaugurating the Amruthodyanam Punarujjeevanam project of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) at the compound of the Viyyur jail on Saturday.

The Agriculture Minister said a major portion of funds set aside for farm loans through banks were being utilised for agricultural gold loans and did not benefit the real farmer.

“Those who pledge large quantities of gold to avail low-interest loans are not real farmers. The government wants to put an end to misuse of funds earmarked for farmers. I urge the NABARD to take stringent measures in this regard,” the Minister said.

He lauded the programme launched for farming on jail campus and hoped that the programme would benefit the jail inmates and the public through production of safe-to-eat vegetables and allied products.

“If you can use every inch of land and enhance production of vegetables and fruits as envisaged in the project, the Horticorp will collect the produce and pay for it. The KAU and the Department of Agriculture will offer support once the project becomes successful,” he told the inmates.

The Amruthodyanam Punarujjeevanam project is designed for jail inmates by the Agricultural Research Station (ARS).