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Efforts to promote dry land farming in 12,000 hectares in Tiruchi district

A check dam built under Mission on Sustainable Dryland Agriculture at Thottiyapatti in Tiruchi district.THEHINDUHANDOUT

The second phase of the Mission on Sustainable Dryland Agriculture (MSDA), a flagship scheme of the state government which seeks to promote dry land agriculture in a big way, will be implemented in 12 clusters covering an area of 12,000 hectares in Tiruchi district.

The scheme, introduced in 2016-17, is being implemented in three phases by the department of Agriculture. Cultivation of millets, pulses, oil seeds and cotton is being promoted to increase the income of farmers.

Soil moisture conservation techniques and improved dry land technologies are being disseminated to dry land farmers to reap higher yield in dry land crops.

The 12 clusters have been identified in Pannapatti, Kannivadugapatti, Anniyapur, Thiruthiyamalai, Sittilarai, Tholurpatti, T.Renganathapuram, Okkarai, Ayyampalayam, Poonampalayam, Thapai and Garudamangalam, Agriculture Department officials said.

“Each cluster will have an area of about 1000 hectares (ha) and we have identified 11,592 beneficiaries for the second phase,” said K.Balraj, Joint Director of Agriculture, Tiruchi.

The recent rain has come in handy to take up ploughing in 12,000 ha. Millets, pulses, oilseeds and cotton seeds have been sown on about 8,327 ha so far, he said. The remaining area will be covered by month end. Farmers are provided with the back ended subsidy of Rs. 1250 a ha, credited to their bank accounts directly.

Emphasis is laid on creating rain water harvesting structures and proper development of land. Each cluster is provided with Rs. 5 lakhs for construction of check dams, which are being built by the Department of Agricultural Engineering. So far 10 check dams have been built and construction is on in three other places. Each cluster is provided with Rs. 7.5 lakh for creating farm ponds and field bunds.

The MSDA supports farmers to acquire machines for value addition of their produce. A mini animal feed production and oil extraction unit was established by the Vaiyampatti Farmers’ Producers’ Group (FPG), of Palayakottai, with subsidy sanctioned under phase I. The FPG was running the unit and supplies animal feed to its members and other milk producers in the nearby area and was getting reasonable profit from the venture. The group was given a subsidy of Rs. 10 lakhs for the unit.


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