The State government has set a target of achieving 472.50 lakh tonnes of food production in 2010-11 Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam told the Assembly on Monday.

The State government has set a target of achieving 472.50 lakh tonnes of food production in 2010-11 by expanding the area under cultivation to 60.50 lakh hectares from 50.35 lakh hectares, Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam told the Assembly on Monday.

The target was originally fixed for 2009-10, but could not be achieved owing to poor rain. Only 50.35 lakh hectares were covered and production was 363.40 lakh tonnes.

According to the policy note presented by the Minister, the target for the current year will be achieved through crop management, soil health management, water management, quality input distribution, area expansion, mechanisation, technology management, research and extension.

As per the plan, paddy will be cultivated on 21.50 lakh hectares, millets on 12 lakh hectares, pulses on 12 lakh hectares, oilseeds on 10 lakh hectares, cotton on 1.50 lakh hectares and sugar cane on 3.50 lakh hectares.

The expansion in the area of cultivation will result in increase of rice production to 21.50 lakh tonnes.

Production of millets is expected to reach 23 lakh tonnes, while pulse production also will go up to 7.50 lakh tonnes. Oilseeds production will touch 18 lakh tonnes, cotton 4 lakh tonnes and sugarcane 4 lakh tonnes.

Later participating in the debate, CPI (M) member Dilli Babu wanted the government to table a White Paper on agriculture lands acquired for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), besides details on water and power supplied to them.

“In States such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, farmers are getting more than Rs.5 lakh per acre. But, in Tamil Nadu they get somewhere between Rs.26,000 and Rs.1 lakh,” he said.

Pointing out that mechanisation of agriculture had severely affected agricultural labourers, he said the government should enact a law to prevent fertile land being taken up for real estate purposes.

MDMK member R. Gnanadoss said the government should follow the Gujarat model of recharging groundwater by constructing more check-dams.

Check-dams

“These check-dams have increased the groundwater level by 15 per cent and are fulfilling the drinking water requirements of Ahmadabad.”

AIADMK MLA M. Pandurangan said the government had failed to implement the promises it had made during the previous years.