We will wait till July 10 to implement it: Krishna Byre Gowda

The Agriculture Department has decided to implement a contingency crop plan if the South West monsoon does not pick up by July 10, according to Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda.

Making a four-hour reply to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday to a discussion on grants for his department, the Minister said the contingency plan had been prepared by the department. Under such a plan, farmers would be advised to shift to short-term crops to minimise any losses due to the vagaries of monsoon, he noted.

The Agriculture Department had stored adequate quantity of seeds of short-term crops, the Minister said. However, the department would wait till July 10 to see if the monsoon would gain strength, as per the advice of agricultural scientists.

Support price

He said the government had decided to announce minimum support price for the State’s staple crops of ragi and maize at the time of sowing itself, to encourage farmers to grow these crops. It would instil confidence in them that the government would buy their produce even if there is a price crash. He had discussed the issue with Ministers for Law and Marketing.

The proposal would be taken up before the Cabinet in the next meeting, he noted.

DNA sequencing

He said that the government had also decided to get DNA sequencing of ragi and maize to improve the existing varieties.

DNA sequencing would be done in a non-transgenic manner and the latest technology would be adopted through a foreign agency to complete the sequencing process in three to six months as against the conventional method which requires three years.

In addition, kits comprising quality seeds of ragi, maize and the nutrients required to support them would be distributed to farmers as part of the efforts to increase the cultivation of these nutrient-rich crops, he said.

Stressing the need for adopting scientific methods of cultivation which takes into account soil health, he said the government was in the process of launching a Rs. 80-crore scheme to test 32 lakh soil samples with digital recording of data in three years. This would serve as a basis for scientists to plan agricultural activities in the State.

Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda also presented the global and national scenario of agriculture, both from the historical and the modern perspectives, before touching upon the issue at the State-level.

More In: Karnataka | National