‘Unable to take up mechanisation due to water, power shortage'

Expressing concern over the “bleak prospects” for agriculture sector on account of various factors, the Tiruchi District Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association has appealed to the government to amend the Land Ceiling Act and encourage cooperative and corporate farming in the State.

The procurement price of agricultural produce including paddy and sugarcane has not increased in tandem with the general price rise. The sector has been facing severe labour shortage and rising input costs, especially due to sharp spurt in fertilizer prices. Farmers were also unable to go in for large scale mechanisation owing to severe water and power shortage.

Given the rapid urbanisation and conversion of agricultural lands for other uses, it was essential that the government encourage cooperative farming or corporate farming to protect the interests of small and marginal farmers, said a resolution adopted at a meeting of the association held here with G.Kanagasabai, president, in the chair.

The association requested the Chief Minister to study the feasibility and promote mechanisation of agriculture and scientific farm practices to usher in a revolution in the agriculture sector.

Mechanisation of agriculture would help attract youngsters to take to agriculture and help overcome the labour shortage. Currently, educated youths in villages, though faced with unemployment, are reluctant to take up agriculture. To prevent migration, the government should ensure employment opportunities for educated rural youths close to the villages.

Farmers willing to take up cooperative farming should be encouraged. The government should ensure that agricultural lands were retained as such and not converted for other purposes through land reclassification, the resolution said.

Through another resolution, the association urged the government to provide remunerative prices for agricultural produce. It also called upon the government to take steps to desilt all reservoirs such as irrigation tanks and water courses during the summer and ensure the opening of the Mettur Dam for irrigation in the first week of June.

The association also pledged its support to the State government's efforts to gazette the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal.

V.Rajaram, executive president, Gandhipithan, secretary, of the association and others spoke.

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