Special Correspondent

Joint Liability Groups promoted to mobilise resources: official

VILLUPURAM: Small and tiny farmers are encouraged to mechanise farming operations and adopt precision farming to increase yield, said K.C. Ravichandran, Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies.

Aware of the constraints faced by the small farmers in mobilising resources for the purpose, the cooperative banks are extending assistance to them. To achieve the goal it has promoted the “Joint Liability Groups” concept, Mr Ravichandran said.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Ravichandran said that so far 500 such groups, each of 10 members, had been constituted in the district. They included tillers of temple lands and those owning 2.5 acres to 5 acres of farm lands.

These groups were given a revolving fund of Rs. 10,000 for various activities. Individually, such farmers may not be in a position to afford the cost of farm implements and if they join together they could share the cost.

Hence, mechanisation that would otherwise be a capital intensive affair, would become an affordable proposition to them hereafter, he said.

Moreover, the scientific approach would increase yield and, in turn, their profit margin.

Since the members would accept the joint responsibility of getting bank loans, they were called Joint Liability Groups. The focus was also on expanding the area under System of Rice Intensification and precision farming.

A target of 1,000 hectares had been fixed for the district this year to adopt precision farming, mainly for horticulture crops including vegetables, Mr. Ravichandran said.

There was no shortage of fertilizers in the district.

The district had got a consignment of 3,048 tonnes of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) for this month that would meet the requirements of the farmers.

However, Mr. Ravichandran said that fertilizer supply was based on the acreage, ie., one bag of DAP for every acre. The farmers were under the notion that excessive usage of fertilizers would increase yield. But in reality, it would only add to the cost and make fertilizers go scarce.

Therefore, it was conveyed to the farmers that they should determine fertilizer use in accordance with soil testing reports. The test could be done by paying just Rs. 5 per sample.

Mr. Ravichandran further said that agri-clinics were being set up under the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Banks and Farmers Service Cooperative Societies to make available farm consultancy services, technical support and farm inputs under a single roof.