“The rabi crops are good; but they still require rain. It is difficult to make an exact assessment of the loss due to drought during the kharif season,” Bharat Lal Meena, principal secretary, Agriculture Department, has said. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on “Enhancing food safety in food retail chains” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here on Tuesday, he said that the department was better prepared for rabi after the losses during kharif.

“During kharif, sowing was not taken up in 10 lakh hectares due to deficiency in rain. The same is the case with rabi as well as agriculture is heavily rain dependent,” he said.

He said that the government was pushing an integrated farming initiative of the University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore, in Doddaballapur.

Technical support

“More than 200 farmers near Doddaballapur have formed a society and are getting technical support from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra. They have also tied up with the milk society and use the (milk society’s) network to transport their produce such as fruits and vegetables to the markets. The money realised from the sale is transferred to the farmers,” he said.

The same model has been adopted by these farmers for bio fuel. The farmers also buy back the oil cake which is used as an organic fertilizer, which also acts like an insecticide. Mr. Meena added that the department would soon give away farming equipment worth up to Rs. 10 lakh to farmers’ societies. “The idea is that these societies can later rent out the equipment to farmers. This will specially help the small and marginal farmers. We are in the process of identifying active farmers’ societies,” he said.

To begin with, around 500 societies will be given the equipment. This will later be extended to at least one society in each of the 747 hoblis in the State.

He said that setting up of an agri-business region in Bagalkot by a private group has been accorded approval by the government’s single window agency. This will cover all sectors of agri-business, including storage, cold chain and processing.

“Around 2,000 acres of land has been identified by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board. The group requires over 5,000 acres in four locations. The government has asked the group to set it up first in Bagalkot. The project investment will be around Rs. 10,000 crore,” he said.

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