To make farmers, especially the vegetables-growers, aware of the fluctuating day-to-day prices of vegetables of leading markets in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has adopted an innovative idea of sending short messaging services (SMS) to them daily on the prices of various vegetables being sold at the mega vegetable markets of Oddanchatram, Koyembedu and Cochin.

“These SMS are dispatched at 11 a.m. every day to 1.75 lakh farmers in Tamil Nadu,” said P. Murugesa Boopathy, TNAU Vice-Chancellor, after participating at a ‘Harvest Festival,' at Kullampatti village in Sankagiri block organised recently by the Department of Cooperatives in which the success of ‘Rajarajan 1000' Paddy Cultivation method was explained.

The SMS service had received widespread accolades since the farmers could command good prices for their produce with the purchasers. “Thus we have effectively neutralised the middlemen who always enjoy the benefits,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor also told the farmers who took part in the festival that if they were ready to send photo details from their mobile phones to the University about the pest-attack on their crops, the institution could reply back with relevant information to tackle the same.

He said that new cane cutting machines would be supplied to four cooperative sugar mills very soon.

Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam had taken steps to procure agriculture machines such as power tillers, harvesters, mini tractors and other machinery from China and Thailand so that the farmers could overcome the shortage of farm workers.

“Since all cannot afford to buy these machines, they could be rented out through farmers' committees, co-operative societies etc.,” he pointed out.

The University had been providing vital technical know-how to the farmers and was actively engaged in modernising the farming by sweeping mechanisation. The lab-to-farm approach was a tremendous success and ‘Rajarajan 1000' method was a fine example.

He asked the farmers to adopt modern methods to enhance production with little input cost.

Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Salem District K.C. Ravindran and other senior farm and university officials took part in which farmers who showed good results after using machinery were given awards.