Support of farmers, students to be ensured for project

Aimed at improving the domestic supply of organic vegetables in the rural and urban markets, the Agriculture Department has given shape to a comprehensive organic vegetable farming project, under which vegetable cultivation will be taken up on nearly 1,700 hectares of land identified in various parts of the district.

The cooperation of active farmers, farming clusters and students will be sought for the new venture, which will be implemented at a cost of Rs.3.17 crore. The department will give technical support and financial aid to purchase quality seeds and manure to the farmers who cooperate with the initiative.

As educational institutions are one of the major targets of the project, the department has already identified 200 schools in the district, which will extend support to start small farming ventures. Educational institutions in the government, aided, and unaided sectors are part of the farming venture.

Financial aid

Each of the selected agriculture clubs in these schools will be granted a financial aid of Rs.15,000 to buy pump sets, sink wells, and conduct field visits to various model vegetable farms for learning purposes. Similarly, financial support will be provided to set up biogas plants. Already, 450 schools have been shortlisted for the project.

“Under the scheme, students will be encouraged to set up small vegetable farms in their backyards and seeds will be distributed free of cost for the purpose from the local Krishi Bhavans,” said Deputy Director of Agriculture (Vegetable Farming) M. Abdul Latheef. As encouragement, the department would also give excellence prizes for the best units selected from the enrolled educational institutions, he added.

Forming new vegetable farming clusters is another highlight of the project. A farming cluster, comprising 15 members, will be eligible for financial grant up to Rs.30,000 per hectare.

Marketing facilities

At the block panchayat level, there will be separate facilities for these farming clusters for marketing. In addition, the facilities at the Vengeri agriculture wholesale market too will be open for the farmers.

The highest financial assistance is offered to farmers who make use of fallow land for cultivation.

Agriculture Department officials said such farmers would be eligible for Rs.30,000 per hectare. The farming clusters too could make use of the aid with the support of local body members and Krishi Bhavans.

For attracting more farmers to the venture, the department has also come up with a crop insurance scheme. The premium amount has been fixed at Rs.10 per 10 cents of land, which will offer a coverage of Rs.800 in case of any unexpected perish.

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