The Department of Horticulture in Mysore district has disbursed Rs. 2.62 crore in incentives to 7,776 small and marginal farmers as part of the first instalment under the Suvarna Bhoomi scheme for taking up horticultural crop cultivation in non-command areas.

Verification of the cultivated areas is under way to release the second and final instalment.

Each farmer will be eligible for an incentive of Rs. 10,000 under the scheme. A total of 13,100 applications were received for cultivation of fruit crops, vegetables and flowers under the scheme from the seven taluks of Mysore district, of which 9,514 applications were initially selected.

After verification to ascertain whether the farmers really had land on which to cultivate horticulture crops and had started such cultivation, 7,776 were picked as eligible beneficiaries, H.M. Nagaraj, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Mysore district, told The Hindu. As many as 28 facilitators were appointed with the support of officers from the Raitha Samparka Kendras in taluks to verify the cultivation areas. The suitability of crop variety (such as sapota) and plants required by the farmers from the nurseries were also surveyed before picking the beneficiaries, Mr. Nagaraj said.

Farmers with a holding of two acres were given Rs. 5,000 each as the first instalment, and those with one acre were given Rs. 2,500 each. The facilitators were trained by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics from Hyderabad and a non-governmental organisation.

Horticulture officers in the 33 hoblis of the seven taluks have been given GPS-programmed cameras to click photographs of the areas cultivated by beneficiaries to release the second and final instalment under the scheme, Mr. Nagaraj said.

Asked if the incentive of Rs. 10,000 was too meagre, Mr. Nagaraj said more than the cash incentive, the farmers would benefit from the technical inputs on the quantity to be cultivated, quality to be maintained and the measures to improve horticulture practices.

Area covered

So far, 10,132 acres was under the scheme in the seven taluks of Mysore district. The highest number of beneficiaries was from the spices and plantation category. Farmers in this category grew crops such as ginger and turmeric.

The extent under this category measured up to 5,757 acres with 3,404 beneficiaries, Mr. Nagaraj said. Vegetable growers came next with an area of 2,814 acres and 2,955 beneficiaries. Fruit crops had an area of 1,275.6 acres with a total of 957 beneficiaries. Flowers were being cultivated in the remaining area, which had 322 beneficiaries, he said.

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