The National Horticulture Mission has recorded a steady increase in the cultivation of mango, amla and guava in the Alanganallur and Kottampatti blocks

While most of the farmlands in Madurai district have turned arid with the monsoon failure and water scarcity in the region, cultivation through horticulture is being explored as a viable option.

“Mango trees have proven to be profitable for many farmers since only a few trees have been affected by non-availability of water. Though horticulture crops have been affected in a few places, the damage has only been marginal since many are perennial and have the ability to withstand drought to a certain extent,” said Muthu Durai, Assistant Director (Horticulture) for the Madurai region.

The estimated area of land, where horticulture crops were grown, was 18,380 hectares during the year between 2012 and 2013. While nearly 11,200 hectares was used to cultivate fruits, vegetables occupied 2,242 hectares.

The National Horticulture Mission has recorded a steady increase in the cultivation of mango, amla and guava in the Alanganallur and Kottampatti blocks.

Spices and condiments, which include tamarind and chillies that are fast gaining popularity in the district, were cultivated on over 200 hectares.

The district had nearly 2,000 hectares of land under floriculture with tube roses and jasmine being favoured among farmers from farmers at Chellampatti and Tirupparankundram. For P. Kaniaraja who has been cultivating tube roses near Chekkanoorani for the last 15 years, the drought-like situation has been difficult to overcome.

“However, I have been more than satisfied with the yield I get year after year. Many people have taken my example and have started exploring floriculture”, he explains and says that 500 farmers have taken to growing tube roses in the Chellampatti block.

“People are hesitant to shift from growing paddy at first owing to sentimental reasons, but the yield and other factors have convinced many of them,” he says.

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