Special Correspondent

Best way to beat the drought conditions, says Vellore Collector

VELLORE: Vellore Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav has appealed to farmers to go in for cultivation of drought-resistant crops and unconventional areas of livestock development such as rearing of rabbits and quails in order to avoid loss of income because of the drought in parts of Vellore district.

Inaugurating the farm exhibition-cum-seminar organised jointly by the Agricultural Technology Development Agency (ATMA) and the Farmers' Training Centre (FTC), Vellore, in connection with the Farmers' Day celebrations at Ratnagiri near here on Monday, Mr. Yadav said that ATMA provided advice to farmers on the crops that could be cultivated under drought conditions, and the techniques to be adopted for obtaining the maximum yield with minimum investment.

They could also go in for cultivation of maize, which is used for the production of animal feeds, the Collector said, and asked ATMA to help farmers in starting food processing units, involving the District Industries Centre as well. Farmers could be encouraged to set up units making corn flakes, which are purchased by families where both the husband and wife go to work. The Collector handed over a cheque for a revolving fund of Rs. 5 lakh to the members of the Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture (TANWA) group from Kathivadi village to enable them to establish a bio-control laboratory, and a cheque for Rs.1,16,436 and the key for a power tiller to the members of the Manguppam TANWA group.

Y.G. Milton, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development appealed to farmers to form themselves into groups and take to cooperative business ventures such as manufacture of value-added products on a commercial basis. Farmers could also join hands to construct rural godowns with the subsidy provided by the Centre so that they could store their produce longer and sell them when the market is right.

S.A. Antony, Regional Deputy Director of Sericulture, Vellore said that farmers could get 60 per cent returns in sericulture whereas they could get only 20 per cent returns in agriculture. Sheela Rajan, chairperson, Vellore District Panchayat presided. N. Balarayan, Joint Director of Agriculture and Project Director of ATMA spoke. J. Thangamani, Deputy Director of Agriculture (in-charge), FTC, Vellore, welcomed.