The agrarian community in Udumalpet block has every reason to cheer as the Department of Horticulture is set to roll out initiatives to convert the block into a ‘vegetable production hub’ to supply produces to the urban consumers in Coimbatore city.

Under the project, the cultivation of tomato, onion, brinjal and beetroot will be promoted by giving inputs like seeds of high-yielding varieties, planting materials, bio-pesticides, shade nets and poly-houses at subsidised rates to the needy farmers.

“By doing so, it has been envisaged to increase the total acreage under tomato, onion, brinjal and beetroot in Udumalpet block from the present 800ha to 1,600ha,” B. Elangovan, Assistant Director of Horticulture, told The Hindu.

To attain the production targets, the scheme is going to be implemented through a cluster-based approach.

“We are aiming to constitute 30 clusters in the block, with each group having 19 farmers, so that execution of the scheme becomes easier,” Dr. Elangovan said.

Even a small farmer with minimum land holding of 0.1ha will be involved in the scheme.

Collection centres

The horticulture department has identified places to set up two collection centres for storing the harvested vegetables before being transported to Coimbatore through designated-supply chain networks.

“The centres, each having space of around 1,000 sq metres, will be located on poramboke lands at Kannamanaickanoor and Andiyagoundanoor hamlets,” the horticulture officials said.

Since the vegetable farmers in the locality have been facing difficulties to transport the produces to collection centres without losing its freshness, they would be given subsidy assistance to offset 40 per cent of the cost of buying ‘refer vans’.

“The ‘refer vans’ are the vehicles that can carry vegetables in refrigerated state and assistance will given for such vehicles with a capacity of taking 12 tonnes of vegetables at a time,” Dr. Elangovan said.

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