Farmers of four southern districts are set to learn about some of the latest advances in agriculture practices and gain first-hand knowledge about the modern farm equipment from an expo at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

A total of 5,000 farmers drawn in equal numbers from Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and Sivaganga districts have been invited to take part in the five-day ‘ATMA Kharif 2010 farmers' conference.' Besides the expo, a series of lectures by agriculture experts from the Government has also been organised during the conference. The expo, which began on Sunday, features 54 stalls put up by various Government departments, cooperatives and private companies dealing with seeds, fertilizers and farming equipment.

Experts from the Government Departments of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing and Sericulture would interact with farmers. Scientists from the TNAU would be addressing some of the sessions.

Mobilise farmers

The main objective of the expo, an Agriculture Department official said, was to mobilise farmers onto a single platform and give them an exposure to the latest developments in the sector. A total of 250 farmers would be brought in from each district on every day of the conference. They will be given food free of cost.

Demonstrations of the farming techniques like drip irrigation and System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and modern farming equipment like the harvesters would be given.

Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), a council comprising various Government agencies and stake holders, is chaired by the Collector of respective districts.

Formed in 2006-07, the Agency receives 90 per cent of its funding from the Central Government with the rest coming from the respective State Governments.

The expo would be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the lecture sessions scheduled between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.