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Five clusters identified for dry land development mission

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(File Photo)
The Agriculture Department has identified five clusters of 1,000 hectares each in the district to implement the ‘Mission on Sustainable Dry land Agriculture’, which aims at increasing the income of farmers through development of dry lands and cultivation of millets, pulses, cotton and other crops.

The mission aims at developing about 10 lakh hectare of dry land in 25 districts, including Tiruchi and neighbouring districts, over a four-year period starting 2016-17.

Agriculture Department officials point out that the district has vast expanse of dry land and offers scope for development through application of the latest cultivation technology. Usually, farmers adopt summer ploughing after rainfall, sow seeds and harvest whatever is possible with minimal use of fertilizers.

Under the programme, cultivation of millets, pulses, oil seeds and cotton will be promoted in the identified clusters of dry lands (rainfed areas). The five clusters that have been selected for the implementation of the mission are in Thottiyam, Thuraiyur, Vaiyampatti, Thathaiyengarpet and Marungapuri blocks. Fifteen farmers clubs have been formed in the above clusters.

On Monday, the Agriculture Department conducted a capacity-building training programme for office-bearers of the clubs. Further, land development activities will be taken up in the identified clusters by the Agricultural Engineering Department. The project envisages creation of rainwater harvesting structures such as check dams, farm ponds and deepening of village ponds. Farmers will be extended a subsidy of Rs. 500 an acre for ploughing the field.

Speaking at the training programme, N. Jayaraj, Joint Director of Agriculture (in-charge), elaborated on the salient features of the mission and called upon the trainees to disseminate the technical inputs to farmers in the field.

R. Santhanakrishnan, Deputy Director of Agriculture (State Schemes), said dry land farming would be successful only if all the line departments, including Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Marketing and Co-operation, worked in tandem.

AR. Periyakaruppan, Deputy Director of Agriculture (Central schemes), said certified seeds of millets, oilseeds and pulses would be supplied at 50% subsidy. In order to increase the production of pulses, Rs. 650 per hectare would be provided towards purchase of DAP and spraying cost. Technical support would also be extended to farmers on value addition and marketing of their produce.


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