The State government is contemplating to increase acreage for providing subsidy on drip irrigation, Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said here on Tuesday.

Inaugurating a 10-day ‘Mango Mela’ at the Exhibition Grounds here, he said that already 70 per cent subsidy was being provided up to Rs.1 lakh to farmers on drip irrigation.

“We are looking to increase the subsidy”, he added.

Horticulture Minister Ramreddy Venkat Reddy later clarified that currently subsidy was being extended for an extent of 10 acres for big farmers and five acres for small farmers. It was being considered to increase the area.

The Chief Minister said the ‘Mango Mela’ was organised to ensure profitability to the farmer by selling his produce directly to the consumer without the involvement of middlemen.

Emphasising the need for better marketing facilities for fruits and flowers, he called for increasing exports.

Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy urged farmers to diversify their activities into allied sectors like poultry, dairy and fisheries as depending solely on agriculture would not be remunerative.

Horticulture Minister Mr. Venkat Reddy said Andhra Pradesh stood first in mango cultivation. Although the fruit was being grown in an extent of 4.10 lakh acres, he said the yield was not encouraging this year.

He said that carbide-free mangoes from nine Telangana districts were being sold at the mela.

Subsidy

He said the farmers were being given 50 per cent subsidy on transport and free cold storage facilities for bringing their produce to the mela.

He said the Horticulture Department was also planning to hold a similar mela for sweet lime.

More than a dozen varieties of mangoes were on sale, including Banaganapalle, daseri, pedda rasaalu, himayat, alphonso and kesari.

According to the Horticulture Department officials, around 20 tonnes of mangoes were expected to be sold each day. About 600 tonnes of mangoes were sold last year during a month-long mela.

Similar 10-day Mango Melas would be held in Khammam, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.