The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched a three-year pilot project in six districts of Tamil Nadu to make agriculture more viable by reducing inputs and labour costs while increasing productivity.
Implemented in collaboration with the State Government, non-governmental organisations and the local community, the project would focus on major crops of the districts, according to R. Narayan, NABARD Chief General Manager, Tamil Nadu Region.
Enhancing productivity per acre
In an interview to The Hindu here on Tuesday, he said that the project has begun at Villupuram, Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and would commence soon at Sivaganga.
The best farmers in the locality would be identified and measures to enhance the productivity per acre of land would be introduced.
These levels would be the benchmark for other farmers in the region, he said.
The project aims to reduce inputs costs by replacing the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the indiscriminate use of which reduces soil fertility, with organic farming.
Another initiative was to ensure farmers have better price realisation for their produce by eliminating the middlemen.
Structures that provide a direct interface for farmers with consumers for select crops would be established in these six districts, he said.
“If this succeeds, we can show to the Government that this project, run by the communities, can address food security issues faced by the country and do away with the myth that agriculture is unviable,” said Mr. Narayan.
This pilot project also aims at reducing farmers' migration to the cities.
He expressed hope that some incremental benefits would accrue from the project as early as the end of first year itself.