Staff Reporter

It is an effort to improve conditions of farmers

Coimbatore: Farmers from Coimbatore, Erode, Karur and Salem districts will deliberate on the changing scenario in the agriculture sector and the problems faced by farmers at a convention organised by National Agricultural Awareness Movement (NAAM) in association with Isha Yoga Foundation at Aandal Kalyanana Mandapam on Thursday.

Isha Foundation founder Jaggi Vasudev will deliver the keynote address `Agriculture today and tomorrow'. The event is NAAM's effort to improve conditions of the farmers in the country. National president of the movement D R Kaarthikeyan and state president T. S. Prabhu Raja will take part.

In the last two decades Isha had initiated many projects to help rural communities. Some of them are: Action for Rural Rejuvenation (providing free medical care to a population of about 3.6 million people in over 2,500 villages), Project Green Hands (aimed at increasing the green cover of the state by 10 per cent by planting 114 million trees), Isha Vidhya (to establish 206 model matriculation schools in rural areas).

Mr. Vasudev will talk on key issues affecting the farming community and the preparations needed to face challenges. The convention will also deliberate on issues such as failure to accord importance to linking of rivers (first for rivers in Tamil Nadu, then rivers in South India and finally those across the country), effects of import duty cut introduced for oil seeds besides the need for ban on palm oil import and waiver of agriculture loans availed from nationalised banks, urging the state and Central Governments to bear the cost of discharging effluents to oceans through underground lines.

The other demands are: windmill fans should not be allowed to come closer to villages, mobile anti-venom clinics, stop neglect of rural bus routes by government as well as private bus operators, plea to set up uzhavar sandhais at Sulur, Palladam and Madathukulam, permission to tap toddy from palm and coconut trees and immediate implementation of Avaashi Athikadavu scheme.

The convention will also press for a minimum procurement price of Rs 2,000 for a tonne of sugarcane, absorption of cost of cutting and transportation charges by sugar mills, minimum procurement price of Rs 16 for a litre of milk, import duty cut for farm mechanisation and direct disbursal of subsidy for mechanisation of farms through indigenous machinery. A special concert by Sounds of Isha, the renowned music troupe of Isha Foundation, will be part of the convention. Interested persons could contact: Kumar Govind at 94437 31964.