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Foodgrains output has to be doubled: Abdul Kalam

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FACE- TO- FACE: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at an interaction with farmers organised by National Agro Foundation in Chennai on Monday.
FACE- TO- FACE: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at an interaction with farmers organised by National Agro Foundation in Chennai on Monday.

Special Correspondent

Urges farmers to use modern technology for boosting productivity "He asked me what I cultivate and suggested that I change the crop at least thrice a year. He asked me to cultivate vegetables between two seasons"

CHENNAI: With the increasing demand for food, the country has to double its foodgrains production by adopting modern technologies, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here on Monday.

In an interaction with farmers, organised by the National Agro Foundation (NAF), the President said while the demand for grains requirement was on the rise, land availability was shrinking. At present, the cultivable land in the country was about 170 million hectares, which would come down to100 million hectares in the next 15 to 20 years due to various factors. In the same period, the country's requirement would increase from the current production level of 200 million tonnes to 400 million tonnes.

The only way to increase the production was to improve productivity through modern technologies.

Banks and cooperative institutions were ready to offer farmers loans at minimum interest and non-governmental organisations such as NAF were ready to supply quality seeds.

The farmers should make use of these facilities to improve production, the President said. Urging rotation of crops, the President said that it would help improve soil fertility. The farmers should also go for cash crops such as Jatropha to improve their income.

Jatropha is an ideal substitute for mixing with diesel. Farmers should form self-help groups and avail the benefits provided by the government.

They should de-silt the local ponds for recharging ground water. Before winding up, he asked the farmers to repeat the lines of a poem he had specially composed for the occasion. In the poem, he emphasised the need for giving equal treatment to the male and female child, improving health and refraining from tobacco and alcohol.

He urged the farmers to set an example to their children. He wanted them to impart quality education to their wards.

They should take a vow to protect soil fertility, forest cover and the environment.

He asked them to plant a minimum of five saplings in their backyard. Kusalammal from Gummidipoondi could not believe herself when the President walked up to her, asked about her farmland and gave her suggestions to sustain the fertility of the soil. "He asked me what I cultivate and suggested that I change the crop at least thrice a year. He asked me to cultivate vegetables between two seasons," said Munusamy of Chunampet.

The farmers from villages in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts said they could not believe that they had spoken to the First Citizen.

"He is so humble, simple and like one of us."

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