CHENNAI: At a time when stress is laid on better water management practices, harvesting of rainwater and storing it to cater to irrigation needs, the micro-irrigation project in Tamil Nadu is expected to receive a big boost as the State government sanctions ` 1,600 crore for implementing the project.The government is aiming to make it a mission to propagate micro-irrigation comprising drip, sprinkler and water guns among the farmers as it saves water, ensures precise percolation of water into the root zone and augments productivity by half when compared to conventional method of watering.
“The government has sanctioned `1,600 crore for 2017-18 and 2018-19 for the micro-irrigation project. We have set a target of covering 2.5 lakh hectares. Identification of beneficiary farmers has been completed,” N Subbaiyan, Director of Horticulture and Plantation Crops, told Express.Elaborating on the advantages of the micro-irrigation scheme, he said that it saved water by 70 per cent, made nutrients and water reach the root zone, and avoided growth of weeds, besides increasing the productivity by 50 per cent when compared to the conventional method.
Drip irrigation, a component of micro-irrigation, is best suited for horticultural crop cultivation. Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem and Erode are the major districts to grow horticultural crops.Tapioca, turmeric and vegetables are largely grown in Dharmapuri while farmers in Krishnagiri predominantly grow flowers and vegetables. Mango and flowers are topping the crop cultivation chart in Salem. Turmeric, cotton and tapioca are the horticultural crops grown widely in Erode district, officials said.
Implemented with fund sharing by the Centre and the State government, small and marginal farmers can avail 100 per cent subsidy while those owning up to five hectare of land are given 75 per cent subsidy. A sum of `230 crore has already been released to the firms engaged in installing the micro-irrigation system.
Micro-irrigation techniques are to be applied in 1.4 lakh hectare paddyfields on a trial basis while sugarcane field accounts for 16000 hectare.
Robust system of inspection
The Director of Horticulture and Plantation Crops claimed that robust system of checks and balances has been put in place for successful implementation of the project. “A monitoring committee will keep track of the installation, operation and maintenance of the micro-irrigation system. Farmers Interest Groups and Farmers Producers Groups have also been roped in to monitor the implementation,” he said and added that bank guarantee was received from the firms engaged for installation of the micro-irrigation system in order to make them more accountable.
`1,600 crore sanctioned
2.5 lakh hectare target
100 per cent farmers identified
100% subsidy for marginal farmers