With simple ideas laid through a planned approach, the Agriculture Department officials in the district have put the State Seed Farm at Devanampalayam near Pongalur on the path of an incredible recovery in the last few months.
The 39.05-acre farm, established in 1956, was lying idle for more than five years till the second half of 2013 due to administrative lapses as well as a few other supplementary reasons. Channelising funds from various Government-sponsored schemes and involving participation of different stakeholders, the agriculture officials here restarted the activities and the results are overwhelming;
The revival of activities, which involve creation of a seed repository through production of foundation and hybrid seeds of crops that are conducive for the cultivation in the district, is not only helping the farmers to get high quality seeds at lower prices but also providing employment to labourers in the vicinity. At the moment, 25 persons are employed on an average a day in the raising of maize on 8 acres in various blocks, cowpea on one acre, red gram on 1.5 acre and cholam on 5 acres.
“More people will be able to get work as we are planning to grow more crops such as groundnut and black gram in the coming days for the production of foundation seeds,” Joint Director of Agriculture Mohammed Kalimullah Sherif told The Hindu.
This apart, the Farm has widened the activities from being a mere seed producer to raising crops for commercial purpose. “Now, tenera oil palm is being cultivated under a contract farming methodology on a buyback arrangement entered with a private firm,” Mr. Sherif said.
With the Farm regaining some of its lost glory, the agriculture students and researchers have started arriving on the premises to study the latest farming practices adopted in the cultivation, harvest and seed production stages.