Agriculture budget: Tamil Nadu bets big on organic farming, millets, exports

The budget also aims to promote the state’s farm produce by securing GI tag, and increase the income of farmers through agroforestry. 
Representational image
Representational image

CHENNAI: Promoting organic farming and increasing millet production, increasing the net area sown and mechanising farming operations while giving a thrust to exports are among the focus areas of the agriculture budget for 2023-24 presented by Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam on Tuesday. The budget also aims to promote the state’s farm produce by securing GI tag, and increase the income of farmers through agroforestry. 

He said the government would disburse Rs 14,000 crore as cooperative crop loans to farmers in 2023-24. 
Though farmers welcomed many of the announcements, all farmers’ associations were aggrieved there was no mention about hiking of paddy and sugarcane procurement prices as promised by DMK in its poll manifesto.   

The Tamil Nadu Millet Mission for five years, measures to promote organic farming, setting up of agro-based industries in the Cauvery Delta Zone at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore and allocation of Rs 6,536 crore to provide free power supply to 23 lakh electricity connections of farmers are among the key announcements in the budget.

Further, the minister announced a special incentive of Rs 195 per metric tonne of sugarcane over the fair and remunerative price of Rs 2,821 per tonne and an incentive of Rs 100 and Rs 75 per quintal for fine and common varieties of paddy. He added that Rs 6,600 crore has been allocated for the rural employment guarantee scheme and Rs 368 crore for the All Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam.

An assistance of Rs 1 lakh each will also be provided to 40 self-help groups to form millet clusters. 
To encourage integrated farming systems, a subsidy of Rs 50,000 would be extended to 10,000 integrated farming system units with an allocation of Rs 50 crore. 

‘150 farmers will be taken to other countries for exposure’

The mission for Madurai jasmine aimed at developing an integrated cluster for jasmine covering the districts of Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Theni and Tenkasi, the Jack Mission will be implemented by forming a cluster for Panruti Jack specific to Cuddalore, the Moringa Mission will promote moringa cultivation in 1,000 hectares in Theni and other districts while the Curry Leaf Cluster for Coimbatore and Chilli Zone for Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga and Thoothukudi are among the area-specific initiatives in the budget.

Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Erode, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Salem, Tiruchy, Krishnagiri, Cuddalore, Tirupatthur, Ariyalur, Vellore, Pudukkottai where major oilseeds, such as groundnut and sesame are grown, will be collectively declared as ‘Special Oilseeds Zone and attention will be given for production, value addition, marketing and export of oilseeds.

The minister said 150 farmers will be taken to Israel, the Netherlands, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia and the Philippines to get exposure to new agriculture technologies. Kits with perennial fruit saplings such as mango, guava, jack, amla, acid lime, and custard apple will be distributed to 10 lakh households; Rs 15 crore has been allocated for this purpose. An exclusive research centre for bananas will be established at the Agriculture College, Killikulam, Thoothukudi.

A separate research centre for palmyra would be established in the same college at a cost of Rs 15 crore. For all eligible farmers have access to benefits by the Agriculture-Farmers Welfare Department, farmers are required to apply electronically. Agricultural e-Service centres will be implemented in 385 Agricultural Extension Centres for the same.

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