CHENNAI: As expected, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday announced a slew of initiatives for agriculture sector that would benefit the farming community. Panneerselvam announced that Mission of Sustainable Dry Land Agriculture would be relaunched as Tamil Nadu Mission for Sustainable Dry Land Development on a cluster-based approach to cover 10,000 clusters of 250 acre each, in a period of three years.
With a view to provide technical advice on farming operations to farmers, Farmers-Agri Officers Interface Scheme would be launched. Under this, apart from one-to-one field level interaction, information and communication technology would also be leveraged. Bringing cheers to farmers engaged in horticulture, Panneerselvam announced special centres for cashew to come up in Cuddalore, onion in Perambalur, moringa in Theni, turmeric in Erode, acid lime in Tenkasi and chillies in Thoothukudi at an outlay of Rs 18 crore.
He said eight agro processing clusters at a cost of Rs 218 crore would be established in Theni, Dindigul, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Madurai districts. Besides, food parks would be set up in Dharmapuri, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Karur, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram and Tenkasi districts at a cost of Rs 70 crore. Similarly, integrated market complexes would come up in Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Madurai, Trichy and Tirunelveli districts on a pilot basis at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
Panneerselvam said 1,364 irrigation works would be taken up under Kudimaramath Scheme at a cost of Rs 500 crore. Further, rural and urban bodies would take up deepening and improvement of remaining ponds and ooranies in villages and rehabilitation of water bodies including temple tanks. He said a transport subsidy of upto Rs 100 per MT of sugarcane would be given for current crushing season at a cost of Rs 110 crore.