Once a prominent producer of agriculture crop seeds, the 1956-established State Seed Farm situated on an expanse of 39.05 acre at Devanampalayam near Pongalur is now bearing an abysmal picture.
The farm has been remaining idle for the past few years with its decline starting almost a decade ago due to administrative lapses, inadequate financial provisions to offer attractive wages to hold back the daily wage labourers deployed for land preparation, de-weeding and seed harvesting works, migration of farm workers in the area to textile industry, depletion in water resources and also due to non-filling of ‘full-time farm manager’s post’ for the past many years.
It will be hard for a new visitor to the premises now to even imagine that this seed farm in the past has been producing tonnes of foundation seeds of paddy, pulses, tomato and bhendi, cotton seeds, and certified seeds of maize for farmers across the State.
Today, one can see only a damaged name board lying on a corner of its entrance, broken barbed wire fence, dead coconut tree trunks and heavily dilapidated administrative blocks.
“During the late 90’s, the farm has even been producing breeder seeds of cotton for farmers across the country with the help of Central Institute of Cotton Research under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR),” a senior agriculture department official who had once served as the manager of the farm in 1990s, told The Hindu .
Without a full-time farm manager, even the basic maintenance of the premises was not been taken care of resulting in almost 180 coconut trees on the campus dying and the green pastures started sporting ‘dry look’.
To revive the farm’s activities, the Department of Agriculture along with district administration and a few other departments have chalked out an action plan.
“Under the district administration’s direction, it has been decided to utilise the workers from the MNREGS labour-pool for reviving farm activities,” Joint Director of Agriculture M.K.Sherif said.
For a starter, saplings needed for tree plantation programmes of District Rural Development Agency will be raised before plunging into full-fledged operations, Mr. Sherif said.