DINDIGUL: To minimise agricultural loss and help farmers plan and decide on farming practices, the State Government proposes to set up automatic weather stations (AWS), micro-soil testing laboratories and agriculture clinics in nine districts, including Dindigul, under National Agricultural Development Programme.
All the blocks in these districts will have an AWS. In Dindigul, AWS will be installed in 14 blocks to gather information, including humidity and weather condition, required by farmers. Hundred villages will have an automatic rain gauge to provide accurate reading of rainfall.
These stations will be hooked to a satellite for rapid collection and transfer of information to headquarters to create a database. Each AWS will be installed in a one cent of land at a cost of Rs.6.5 lakh. A sum of Rs.94.5 lakh has been sanctioned to Dindigul district for the purpose, according to Collector R. Vasuki.
Rain gauge will be set up on a two square metre area at a cost of Rs.16,500. A total of Rs.16.5 lakh has been sanctioned to set up the gauge in 100 villages. Additional funds have also been sanctioned for construction work.
Information gathered through these modern gadgets will be passed on to farmers once in four days. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has taken up the mission.
Each block will have a micro soil testing lab and an agri-clinic. Agriculture engineers and unemployed graduates will be roped in and each lab will have a computer with Internet access. They will get loans with 50 per cent backend subsidy.
Towards four per cent
Initially, the project would be implemented in Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Perambalur, Coimbatore, Theni and Villupuram districts, to scale up the annual agricultural growth to four per cent in the 11th Plan period, the Collector said.
Top priority will be given to precision farming. In Dindigul, 1,000 hectares would be brought under precision farming. Financial assistance with subsidy for purchase of irrigation equipment, seeds, saplings, liquid fertilizers and crop protection medicines would be offered. Besides, farmers’ groups would also get funds for establishing community nursery.