Special Correspondent

Ravindranath says it will help address farmers’ issues

‘Five sugar factories can be set up in

Shimoga district’

State has received 16 lakh tonnes of chemical fertilizers, says Minister

SHIMOGA: Minister for Agriculture S.A. Ravindranath said here on Friday that he would request Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to make provisions in the next State Budget for the establishment of a university of agricultural sciences in the Malnad region so that farmers’ issues could be addressed.

Mr. Ravindranath told presspersons at the UAS College of Agriculture that the proposed university could be located either in Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Davanagere or Chitradurga district.

The need for a separate varsity in the Malnad region was felt because the pattern of agriculture there was different from the pattern in other regions. On being queried about the stock of chemical fertilizers in the State, he said the total annual requirement was 21 lakh tonnes but the State had received only 16 lakh tonnes of chemical fertilizers till date.

Mr. Ravindranath said that when pressed for more supply, the Union Government had asked the State Government to mobilise the supply from its own sources.

Following this, it was proposed to procure higher supply from the Mangalore Chemical Factory in Mangalore. However, the Union Government was expected to release the necessary subsidy for the chemical fertilizers procured by the State from its own sources. He added that the State Government would also try to procure chemical fertilizers from the factories in Gujarat.

Organic farming

Mr. Ravindranath also said that the State Government had made a budgetary allocation of Rs.100 crore for encouraging the organic farming so that the use of chemical fertilizers could be reduced to a great extent. It was also proposed to seek the advice on natural farming from experts like Subhash Palekar.

When asked whether he would press for a separate agricultural policy, Mr. Ravindranath declined to comment.

He also said that due to the fluctuations in the monsoon this year, there was variance in the production in the major crops such as maize in the districts of Shimoga, Davanagere and Haveri.

Mr. Ravindranath said that there was a scope for establishing five sugar factories in the Shimoga district and added that the Government was ready to extend support if private firms evinced interest to set up factories in this region.