TN's first exclusive agriculture budget targets food and nutritional security in 10 years
Special scheme for promoting organic farming, an initiative to turn agriculture graduates into agricultural entrepreneurs and the setting up of a separate museum for agriculture in Chennai announced.
CHENNAI: The first exclusive budget for agriculture in Tamil Nadu aims at achieving food and nutritional security in the next 10 years and to ensure this has set three visionary goals.
The first goal is to take steps to bring an additional area of 11.75 lakh hectares under the net area sown to increase the present cropped area from 60 percent to 75 percent.
This will see fallow lands being turned into productive lands by augmenting water resources such as ponds, farm ponds, percolation ponds, check dams and borewells in the next ten years. Crops like millets, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables and fruits will be grown here to increase the net sown area to 75 percent.
The second goal is to double the existing double-cropped area from 10 lakh hectares to 20 lakh hectares in the next ten years.
Bringing Tamil Nadu within the first three positions in the country in agricultural productivity in foodgrain production and the production of commercial crops such as coconut, cotton, sunflower, and sugarcane through the use of quality seeds and modern technologies will be the third goal.
A special scheme for promoting organic farming, an initiative to turn agriculture graduates into agricultural entrepreneurs, the setting up of a separate museum for agriculture in Chennai to showcase the glory of the state's agriculture to the younger generation and giving a "kit of agricultural implements" to half a lakh farmers are among the other key announcements made in the budget.
The Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam also rolled out a 16-point strategy to ensure the growth of agriculture in the State.
This multi-pronged strategy includes a scheme to build agricultural clusters at the village level and schemes for dryland development, development of fallow land, organic farming and strengthening rainwater harvesting structures to increase the area under irrigation.
Promoting collective farming by bringing together small and marginal farmers and increasing agricultural income through integrated farming, expansion of drip and sprinkler irrigation system, and the dissemination of crop management technologies to increase crop yield is also part of the vision. The budget emphasised the need to give importance to women in agriculture.
The other strategies are: making farmers agricultural traders, encouraging the youth to turn agricultural entrepreneurs, enhancing the application of information and communication technology in agriculture, disseminating location-specific farm information to farmers, an emphasis on agricultural mechanization, moves to ensure value addition to agricultural produce, increasing the production of vegetables and flowers through protected cultivation and ensuring the best price to farmers who cultivate minor millets, vegetable, fruits, etc.