Staff Reporter

RAMANATHAPURAM: The National Agricultural Development Programme will be implemented in nine districts of Tamil Nadu, including Ramanathapuram.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday, Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar said Rs.185 crore had been allotted to the State for implementing the programme during this fiscal.

The programme would also cover Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnakiri, Namakkal, Perambalur, Dindigul, Coimbatore and Vilupuram, and was meant to achieve a four per cent annual growth in agriculture during the 10th Plan through holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors.

Bringing more fields under precision farming was a major component of the scheme, he said. Farmers could claim 50 per cent subsidy, maximum of Rs.40,000 a hectare, for introducing precision farming. Another component was establishing agri clinic and micro soil testing laboratories. Unemployed agricultural graduates would be motivated to set up agri-clinics at a cost of Rs.6 lakh apiece, with a 50 per cent back-ended subsidy, through loans from commercial banks.

The programme also featured a component to modernise farm machines. Machineries, which were comparatively costly and not popular among farmers such as combined harvester, power thrasher and coconut de-husker and others, would be distributed to farmers at a subsidy of 25-50 per cent.

Automatic weather stations would be established in all blocks of the district. It would provide a medium-range forecast for farming decisions.

The Collector said the programme would also create a land resource inventory. The R.S. Mangalam block was selected for a detailed soil survey.