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Two lakh farmers to benefit from community farming in TN

TIE State government on Saturday said collective farming across the State would benefit about two lakh farmers across the State. The initiative is to unite small and marginal farmers numbering 22,700 in the four delta districts and also enhance productivity and profitability. It maybe noted here that about, 2100 crore was allotted by the government. At a seminar in Tiruchy on Saturday, senior bureaucrats from the Departments of Finance and Agriculture pitched for the cooperation and coordination of the officials in the districts to make the project in organised farming method a success. The objective is to aggregate a set of 20 small and marginal farmers under a single entity named 'Farmers Interest Group' (FIG) and further uniting five such FIGs into a Farmers Producers Group (FPG) and additionally forming a federation of 10 such FPGs into a 'Farmers Producer Organisation' (FPO) comprising 1,000 farmers in each FPO. To provide an impetus to the scheme, the seminar was conducted by the Agriculture Department officials and farmers from neatly 31 districts.

Addressing the gathering, K Shanmugam, Additional Chief Secretary to government (Fi-nance) said, "Through collective farming, farmers uniting as a single entity can easily receive loans from banks just like in the case of Self- Help Groups. Of all other merits, challenges and problems encountered in farmng can be faced together which will prevent the instability in generating income through farming." It is said that farmers enrolled under the scheme should cultivate a common crop in a collective manner. Reiterating 'united we stand' concept behind the project, senior bureaucrats explained to the farmers about benefits involving small and marginal farmers in collective farming. It is said that a corpus fund of 5 laid' would be provided to each FPG with a total of 2,000 FPGs being provided financial support for a total fund allocation of 2100 crore from State funds. Nearly 92 per cent of operational holdings in the State are small and marginal farmers and have a limited capacity to mobilise credit and even adopt the lat-est technologies including value addition process.

The corpus fund provided to each FPG can be used to meet the micro irrigation, farm mechanisation, and other common farm infrastructure needs," said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary to government. The State government, through the district administrations and the Agriculture Department, has notified more than a dozen eligibility criteria including the size of the land, land ownership, and proximity to the nearest other small and marginal farmers which all should be met to get enrolled. As the scheme is most likely to be scaled up in the ensuing years to benefit 40 lakh farmers over the next five years, more such seminars and awareness meet-ings are to be conducted to rope in deserving small-scale farmers.
Source: epaper.newindianexpress.com//c/21308806 

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