Techniques of reclamation of fields to be taught

The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has planned to impart special training to the paddy cultivators of five districts in the Cauvery delta region to improve productivity in sodic or alkaline areas.

A total of 1,000 farmers, 200 each from the five districts, will undergo training in batches.

Fifty farmers would be trained in each batch on reclamation of salt affected lands with the latest technical know-how in the fields of agronomy, soil science, crop physiology, micro-biology and economics of cultivation. The programme is to be implemented under the ‘enhancing rice production in salt affected soils in five districts of Tamil Nadu' programme for which a sum of Rs.40.30 lakh has been released under the National Agricultural Development Programme.

Inaugurating the training for the first batch of farmers at TNAU-Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute at Navalur Kuttapattu near here on Wednesday, S. Jeyaraman, Director, Soil and Crop Management Studies, TNAU, said that the Cauvery delta districts accounted for about 1.34 lakh hectares of alkaline area – 64,000 hectares in Nagapattinam district; 33,000 in Tiruvarur; 20,000 in Thanjavur; 11,000 in Tiruchi and 6,000 hectares in Karur.

Mr. Jeyaraman said that the TNAU had evolved the programme with a view to doubling the per hectare paddy productivity in alkaline fields from the present 2.25 tonnes to around five tonnes.

The training aimed at a phased development of the alkaline soil through reclamation process. He appealed to the farmers to dump huge volumes of sun hump and daincha in their fields to bring down the pH level in the area. Mr. Jeyaraman said the farmers would be taken to exposure visits to fields where the paddy cultivators had already registered higher yield.

The institutes -- Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Sirugamani; Needamangalam; Sikkal and Karur; the Sugarcane Research Station in Sirugamanai; Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute in Navalur Kuttapattu; Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute in Kumulur; Soil and Water Management Institute in Kattuthottam; and the Agricultural Research Station in Pattukottai would impart the training and organise sessions to benefit the farmers.

J. Sekar, Joint Director of Agriculture, said that the department had stocked gypsum to be supplied at a subsidised price to the alkaline farmers. He also said that agricultural inputs worth Rs.3,000 would be supplied to each farmer.

V. Jayabal, Dean of the college, spoke on the efforts taken for bringing down the pH level through the application of spent wash.

Later, Mr. Jeyaraman conducted a survey of alkaline fields in the college premises and interacted with the farmers.

Timely transplanting of nurseries and application of manure and fertilisers were all the more necessary for registering a high yield. “Every weekly delay in transplanting nurseries will bring down the harvest by 500 kg,” he cautioned.

Keywords: TNAUfarmersalkalinetraining