The sudden downpour in Usilampatti and Thirumangalam lasting well over three hours on Tuesday night has brought cheer to farmers in the region.

Describing it as a cloudburst, Joint Director of Agriculture Jayasingh Gnanadurai said on Wednesday that many ponds and tanks in Usilampatti, Kodikulam, Chellampatti and Thirumangalam areas received good inflows, and the Nilayur canal near Nagamalai Pudukottai had filled up.

The rain would also help recharge the groundwater, he noted. Farmers who had sown cotton, maize and pulses were confident of carrying on with the successive phases of activity.

Similarly, those who were planning to raise paddy crop could start transplanting the nursery, he pointed out.

To encourage the farmers in the Usilampatti belt – an area considered not so fertile – the State government had introduced an innovative scheme, ‘Integrated Farming System’, which was designed on the lines of the self-help groups scheme.

Under this scheme, women formed groups of 12, and each group member would be given a milch cow, 11 goats, 30 chicken, 20 kg of black gram and a vermicompost unit.

The member had to dig a pond measuring 10x10 metre in her field, in which rainwater would be stored and used for irrigation. “The rain on Monday night had come as a boon to many whose ponds are full now,” Mr.Gnanadurai told The Hindu.

The members of the Water Users’ Association in Chellampatti said the introduction of the Integrated Farming System was timely. If the monsoon failed, they could depend on the vermicompost unit and the milch cow, they said.

The Integrated Farming System entailed an investment of Rs.1.10 lakh for each member.

The State government gave a subsidy of Rs.55,000 and the remaining amount was raised through bank loans, the members said.

The scheme had already been implemented in Thirumangalam, Kallupatti, Kalligudi and Usilampatti blocks in the district, they added.

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