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Major thrust on oilseeds, pulses production, organic farming

Major thrust on oilseeds, pulses production, organic farming


Chennai, Feb 20 (UNI) Major thrust on oilseeds, pulses production, organic farming,

creation of a State Horticulture Farm and as well as parks and gardens across the State,

traditional paddy varieties cultivation, special incentive for sugarcane farmers, introduction

of the ‘One Village One Crop’ scheme are some of the salient features of the Agricultural

budget presented in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday.

Presenting the budget, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister MRK Panneerselvam said

Rs 108 crore has been allotted to expand the area under cultivation for oilseeds and pulses to meet the shortfall in demand though raid strides had been made in paddy cultivation.

Stating that the recent Russia-Ukraine war had brought to the fore the need for self-sustainability in food grain production, the Minister said that though Tamil Nadu required 18.45 lakh tonnes of edible oil annually, the area under oilseed cultivation was yielding only 4.85 lakh tonnes.

“The production of pulses is part of sustainable food production, which aims at food security and nutrition,” he said, announcing the implementation of a pulses development scheme in an area of 4.75 lakh acres in 2024-25. The outlay of Rs 40.27 crore for the scheme, will come from both Union and State government funds.

As the area under red gram cultivation was constantly declining and red gram was currently cultivated only on 1.25 lakh acres, the Minister said its cultivation would now be promoted on 50,000 additional acres as a sole crop, bund crop or intercrop at a cost of Rs 17.50 crore allocated from the State government funds.

Mr. Panneeserlvam said to popularise the highly-remunerative oilseed crops such as groundnut, gingelly, sunflower, soybean and castor, cluster demonstrations and cultivation of oilseeds in rice-fallow conditions would be encouraged. “This scheme will be implemented in all districts of Tamil Nadu covering an area of 2.5 lakh acres at an outlay of Rs 45 crore, with funds from the Union and State governments,” he said.

Announcing special thrust on organic farming, oilseeds, traditional vegetables and fruits, the Minister said to increase the area under cultivation and productivity of gingelly in districts declared as under the ‘Oilseed Zone’, Rs 3 crore would be earmarked to provide subsidies for inputs and harvesting charges for 25,000 acres. Additionally, Rs 2 crore would be allocated to increase the sunflower cultivated area to 12,500 acres, and the cultivation of high-yielding castor hybrids would be promoted in an area of 1,500 acres at an outlay of Rs 18 lakh.

Reiterating the need to enhance the productivity of food grains, coconut, sugarcane, cotton, and sunflower, to fulfill the vision of the Chief Minister to make Tamil Nadu one of the top three States in terms of productivity, Mr. Panneerselvam announced a Rs 48 crore scheme to incentivise Enhanced Crop Productivity. “Crop productivity is projected to increase by 15 per cent through the use of quality seeds, which are essential to achieve higher yields,” he said, and announced the distribution of 12,510 tonnes of paddy seeds, 260 tonnes of millet seeds, 940 tonnes of pulse seeds and 2,100 tonnes of oilseeds to farmers at a subsidy of 50-60 per cent.

Announcing creation of a State Horticulture Farm and as well as parks and gardens in various parts of the State, he said a ‘Mullai’ Park, to showcase the life and geographical conditions of the Tamil people who inhabited the Mullai land, would be established in Vellimalai in Kanniyakumari district at a cost of Rs 2 crore.

He also announced establishment of a ‘Marutham’ Park, representing wetlands and adjoining fields with water resources, in Thirumalaisamuthiram in Thanjavur district, in the Cauvery river basin at a cost of Rs two crore, a Sun Garden between the sunrise point and sunset point in Kanniyakumari that would attract many visitors, a Hibiscus Nursery Garden in Attur in Chengalpattu district taking into consideration that the plant is used for the production of medicinal, cosmetic, and food products at a cost of Rs 1 crore, a State Horticulture Farm in Naduvakurichi in Tenkasi district to produce pedigree, quality planting materials and to distribute them to farmers at reasonable prices.

He said 100 new varieties of roses would be planted at the Rose Garden in the Queen of Hill Stations Udhagamandalam, which already has an impressive collection, housing 32,000 rose plants comprising 4,201 varieties, including large, small, and climbing roses.

Mr Panneerselvam said traditional paddy varieties including Aruvadham Kuruvai, Poonkar, Thooyamalli, Seeraga Samba, Mappillai Samba, Sivan Samba and Karuppu Kavuni would be cultivated on 10,000 acres across the State, in 2025-26.

Stating that traditional paddy varieties of seeds were being produced under the ‘Nel’ Jayaraman Mission on Conservation of Traditional Paddy Varieties, he said iIn the current year, 200 tonnes of traditional paddy variety seeds would be produced at State Seed Farms for cultivation in an area of 10,000 acres. These seeds will be distributed to farmers in all districts. A sum of Rs 50 lakh has been allotted for this purpose.

He also said that the State government will allocate Rs 250 crore to provide a special incentive of Rs 215 per metric tonne (MT), over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) announced by the Union government, to farmers who have supplied sugarcane to sugar mills for the 2023-2024 crushing season.

He said the enhanced special incentive would benefit 1.3 lakh sugarcane farmers across the State. The incentive, earlier, was Rs195 per MT over and above the FRP.

Stating that the ‘One Village One Crop’ scheme will be introduced in 15,280 revenue villages to enhance agricultural production in rural areas in about 5 to 10 acres in each village, focusing on one crop per village to enhance farmers’ awareness.

“This initiative will feature demonstrations covering land preparation, seed treatment for high-yielding varieties, and integrated nutrient management for a range of crops including paddy, cholam (sorghum), maize, cumbu (pearl millet), kudiraivali (barnyard millet), ragi (finger millet), red gram, black gram, green gram, groundnut, gingelly, sunflower, cotton and sugarcane, Mr. Panneerselvam said.

In order to help farmers distinguish between beneficial and harmful insects, ‘Permanent Pest Surveillance Plots’ would be established, and effective plant protection measures would be recommended, he said.

During 2024-25, 2,482 Village Agriculture Development Groups would be formed and training sessions would be conducted at a cost of Rs 2.48 crore, he said. These groups would provide farmers with timely and relevant advisories on seasonal crop cultivation, adoption of advanced technologies and effective market strategies for sustainable growth to enhance crop production and income. These Village Agriculture Development Groups will offer training within village panchayats, under the Kalaignarin All Village Integrated Agricultural Development Programme.

He also allocated Rs 18 crore to implement the scheme to provide an additional 20% subsidy for small and marginal farmers from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in high-value schemes, implemented by the Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department. The scheme was launched in 2022-23.

The Minister announced that Geographical Indication (GI) tags would be obtained for 10 agricultural products native to Tamil Nadu during 2024-25 and allocated Rs 30 lakh for this purpose.

The GI tags would be obtained for Sathayamangalam Red Banana (Erode), Kolli Hills Pepper (Namakkal), Meenambur Seeraga Samba (Ranipet), Ayyampalayam Nettai Thennai (Dindigul), Urigam Puli (Krishnagiri), Bhuvanagiri Mithi Pagarkai (Cuddalore), Sencholam (Salem, Karur), Tirunelveli Senna Leaf (Tirunelveli), Odaipatti Seedless Grapes (Theni), Gloriosa Superba and Senganthal seed (Karur, Dindigul, Tiruppur).

Marketing of GI tagged products increases their demand and export opportunities, the Minister said and added that GI tags have been being obtained for unique and native agricultural products of the State. “In the past three years, application for Geographical Indication tags have been filed for 25 agricultural products.”

During 2024-25, ‘Farm Gate Trade’ would be intensified to trade agri-produce worth Rs 60 crore, ensuring that the farmers receive a fair price, he said. Of the 284 regulated markets in Tamil Nadu, 157 have been integrated with the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) enabling trade. “So far, 8,300 MT of agricultural produce valued at Rs 40 crore has been traded at Farm Gate Trade,” he said.

He said 14,000 Integrated Farming System units will be established at an outlay of Rs 42 crore and uer the Integrated Farming System, farmers are encouraged to diversify their agricultural practices by incorporating crop cultivation with complementary activities such as dairy farming, goat rearing, fruit tree cultivation, honey bee rearing and vermicompost production.

“This approach aims to achieve self-sustaining livelihoods through holistic development. Over the past three years, 40,888 units have been successfully established, at a cost of Rs 142 crore benefiting 40,888 farmers,” he said.

The Minister said a sum of Rs 27 crore would be allocated to foster comprehensive organic farming practices and secure organic certification. This would help the 725 Organic Farming Clusters that were established during 2023-2024 covering 35,815 acres in 36 districts.

To encourage farmer groups interested in the production and sale of organic inputs like panchakavya, jeevamirtham, vermicompost, amirthakaraisal and meen amilam among others, necessary for organic production, 100 Organic Input Production Centres would be established at a cost of Rs 1 crore, he said.

In order to promote the concept of organic farming among farmers, one model organic farm would be created in each block of the State, he said and added that farmers will be encouraged, trained and guided on schemes available for organic farming, certification methodologies, organic input production and marketing of organic produce.

While announcing allocation of Rs 65.30 crore for the ‘Tamil Nadu Millet Mission’ during 2024-25, which is being implemented for five years from 2023-24 to 2027-2028 in the two millet special zones, Mr Panneerselvam said the mission aims to increase the area, production and productivity of major millets like Sorghum, Pearl millet, Finger millet and minor millets like Kodo millet, Proso millet, Barnyard millet, Little millet and Foxtail millet. Two Millet Special Zones encompass 25 districts of Tamil Nadu.

A ‘Honey Production Hub’ would also be established in Kanniyakumari district at a cost of Rs 3.60 crore, recognizing the significance of beekeeping for public health. The Hub would have a honey testing lab, a processing laboratory for honey and its byproducts, besides having providing training to beekeepers, he said.

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