The government of India has launched a INR150bn (US$1.98bn) agricultural infrastructure fund in an attempt to boost the country’s dairy and meat sector.

It is hoping to incentivise private companies to get involved in developing projects for the sector by offering them loans.

Emphasising the importance of the sector to economic growth in the country, the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) has been approved at the highest level, by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government said that while it has been backing various schemes to develop dairy infrastructure from the dairy cooperative sector, it has realised that private companies “also need to be promoted and incentivised for their involvement in processing and value addition infrastructure”.

It added: “AHIDF would facilitate much needed incentivisation of investments in establishment of such infrastructure for dairy and meat processing and value addition infrastructure and establishment of animal feed plant in the private sector.”

It said that eligible beneficiaries under the scheme would include farmer-producer organisations, private companies and individual entrepreneurs.

They would need to put 10% into approved schemes with the remaining 90% coming by way of a loan through “scheduled banks”.