Bangalore: A first-of-its-kind Agriculture Budget was tabled in the Karnataka Assembly on Thursday by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. He proposed to provide crop loans at a 1 per cent interest rate and earmarked Rs 17,857 crore for agriculture, allied and irrigation sector development.

He said the rate of interest on crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh from cooperative institutions would be reduced from 3 per cent to 1 per cent.

In addition, an amount of Rs 1,000 crore would be provided for development of 10 lakh farmer's families under the 'Suvarna Bhoomi Yojana' scheme, Rs 200 crore for organic farming and Rs 125 crore for promotion of bio-fuels, he said.

Highlighting the woes of the farming sector, he said the Agriculture Budget would address their concerns.

The government has also earmarked Rs 100 crore subsidy for drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation and a Rs 100 crore subsidy for agricultural purchases.

The Budget also set aside Rs 40 crore for extending the 'Bhoo Chethana' (soil enrichment) programme to all 30 districts of the state.

Yeddyurappa said the government proposes to hold a Global Agro-Investment Meet for the first time in India and also plans to formulate a Karnataka Agri Business Development Policy.

Among the other initiatives proposed to be taken in 2011-12 were the establishment of an Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs 500 crore and an increase in the Agriculture Revolving Fund corpus to Rs 1,000 crore.

The Chief Minister said Rs 3,900 crore will be provided to supply quality power to irrigation pumpsets and Rs 1,000 crore to rejuvenate tanks and fill water in dried tanks.

The Karnataka government has proposed to declare 2011-20 as the 'Irrigation Decade' and will mobilise Rs 50,000 crore for water resources development.

To facilitate the education of farmers' children, interest-free loans would be given for their higher education, Yeddyurappa said.

Special emphasis has also been laid in the Budget on updating land records and amendment of the Land Reforms Act, he said.