One year of CM MK Stalin: Tamil Nadu's agriculture spurring green shoots of growth

When the government hit the ground running with an exclusive budget for agriculture, the vision was clear: to achieve food security and nutritional security in the next 10 years.

Published: 10th May 2022 04:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2022 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

farmers, farming, agriculture

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Agriculture, the livelihood for around 70 per cent of the rural folk in Tamil Nadu, has got a shot in the arm under the new DMK government. When the government hit the ground running with an exclusive budget for agriculture, the vision was clear: to achieve food security and nutritional security in the next 10 years.

What followed was a slew of initiatives for increasing the cultivation area, productivity of food grains and other agri products, a 16-point multi-pronged strategy to ensure the growth of agriculture on various counts, and implementation of Organic Farming Development Mission (OFDM) and Palmyra Development Mission, among others.

Paddy production reached its highest in the past 46 years during Kuruvai cultivation in 2021. Also, steps are being taken to double the present double-cropped cultivation area from 10 lakh hectares to 20 lakh hectares in the next 10 years.

A high-level committee for agriculture has been constituted at the State-level under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to periodically review farming-related schemes and to suggest solutions for the problems faced by farmers.

Giving a push for organic farming, Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam has announced that farmers who adopt organic farming will be encouraged with the provision of inputs subsidy while implementing OFDM.

A grand project called Kalaignar All Villages Integrated Agriculture Growth Scheme is being implemented to ensure overall agricultural development and self-sufficiency in all villages of Tamil Nadu.

While welcoming the long-term measures, farmers' associations feel that some short-term measures are vital.  P Shanmugam, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said though the exclusive budget for agriculture is a welcome measure, the government should have allocated more funds for this department which is important for the State.

"For agriculture, the land is very important. But the government is yet to reveal its comprehensive land-use policy. It should give up acquiring fertile land where farmers are getting three crops per year. Already, the area of cultivation is getting reduced in the State. At this juncture, acquiring land in the disguise of development will not help increase the agricultural production as well as overall growth of Tamil Nadu," Shanmugam said.

Tamil Nadu Cauvery Delta Farmers Association general-secretary PR Pandian is of the view that the exclusive budget for agriculture every year, the importance being given to organic farming methods, and certain long-term programmes for the development of agriculture are indeed welcome measures.

However, there are many issues that remain to be sorted out. "We have been demanding that the State government should implement its own crop insurance scheme for farmers and this is yet to be fulfilled."

The farmers are seeking Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agricultural products and marketing agreements for selling their products at the MSP fixed by the government. If that happens, farmers would be getting reasonable price even when the yield of certain products is less.

"The DMK government is yet to fulfil its promise that Rs 2,500 per quintal would be provided to paddy. This disappoints the farmers," Pandian added.

Story so far...

  • TN Assembly witnessed for  the first time an exclusive budget for agriculture in August last year. Last month, the second such budget was presented

  • Historical coverage of 4.9 lakh acres in the Kuruvai season in 2021. Foodgrain production in 2021-22 is estimated to reach 118 lakh metric tonnes - the highest in last six years

  • Introduction of Kalaignar All Villages Integrated Agricultural Development Programme, a flagship scheme which focuses on converting fallow lands into cultivable lands. Till now, 1,030 fallow land clusters have been identified covering 20,235 acres


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