Farmers should take up paddy cultivation under the new system of rice intensification (SRI) method to get higher yield with less cost of cultivation and water, said Transport Minister K. N. Nehru, here on Tuesday.

The Minister who distributed crop insurance compensation amount to the tune of Rs.93.26 lakhs to 3,251 farmers of Tiruverambur block whose crops were affected by the cyclone Nisha last year, appealed to the farmers to switch over to mechanisation in farming and scientific method of cultivation as it had now become very difficult to get agricultural labourers. He pointed out that there were machines for ploughing, planting, harvesting and thrashing in paddy cultivation and the farmers should make use of these facilities.

Mr. Nehru said that under the SRI method of paddy cultivation, the farmers could easily reap 3,600 kg of paddy per acre against 2,400 kg in traditional way of cultivation. He wanted the farmers to get kisan credit cards and also insure their agricultural crops, especially paddy so that they could get good compensation amount in the event of flood or drought.

The Minister said that the crop insurance compensation was being decided based on several factors including average yield of 20 acres in an area by the agricultural insurance company. Hence, the compensation amount may vary from place to place depending on the damages to the crops.

He said that the State Government had now released its portion of compensation amount for the farmers and equal amount would soon be received from the Centre which would be disbursed to the beneficiaries later. He also distributed other welfare assistance like old age pension, free house site pattas at the function.

Collector T. Soundiah who presided over the function, said that for the first time, farmers in Tiruchi district were getting compensation under the crop insurance scheme. He pointed out that nearly Rs.40 crore had been provided as flood relief in the district. He appealed to the farmers to get kisan credit cards and insure their agricultural crops for their benefit.

Regional Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies R. M. Jayampandian, Joint Director of Agriculture N. Ponnusamy and K. N. Sekaran, MLA spoke.