TIRUCHY: Farmers in non-delta blocks are shifting to different crops such as pulses in the past two seasons. This season, the total area under pulse cultivation is likely to increase by 2,000 hectares compared to the previous year.
Pulses are the second-largest cultivated crop in the district after paddy. They include black gram, red gram, green gram, horse gram and others. While the actual area of pulse cultivation is nearly 10,000 hectares collectively, due to various issues, in 2018-2019, it was cultivated on just 8,000 hectares in the district. To increase food grain cultivation, in an annual meeting, it was emphasised the Agriculture department should convert fallow land into agricultural land. As a result, several hundred more hectares came under pulse cultivation, making for a total of 10,260 hectares.
National Food Safety Mission (NFSM) plays a key role in aiding farmers in non-delta blocks to continue with agricultural works. Many farmers, especially in non-delta regions and also those whose fallow land was recently converted into agricultural land, are showing interest in short-term pulse cultivation this season. "By adopting new technologies, including sprinklers for irrigation issues and seed treatment with pseudomonas and bio fertilisers under the NFSM scheme this year, the department is expecting to have 12,500 hectares under pulse cultivation. Already exceeding the previous year's pulse cultivation area by 261 hectares, the total area under cultivation has already reached 10,452 hectares," said S Shanthi, Joint Director of Agriculture (in-charge). She added guidance has been provided to all block-level agricultural officials to convert 10 hectares per season in their respective blocks.
B Vasantha, an agriculture official from Vaiyampatti block, stated irrigation has been the major concern for farmers in the rural parts. Due to this, many had to give up farming. leaving the land fallow. With the NFSM scheme aiding farmers in constructing farm ponds and setting up sprinkler systems. they are showing interest in short-term pulse cultivation this season. Speaking to TNIE, NFSM consultant R Santhanakrishna said seeds are distributed at 50 per cent cost to farmers under the NFSM scheme. Seed production subsidy is almost Rs 25 per kg. This helps seed farmers make a profit. Bio fertilisers and bio-pesticides like pseudomonas are also distributed with 50 per cent subsidy He requested all farmers to utilise the scheme and reap the benefits.