Special Correspondent

Government keen on providing quality seeds to farmers

CHENNAI: The State government will establish a State Seed Production Agency to strengthen all the activities related to seeds, Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam told the Assembly on Friday.

During the debate on the demand for grants to the Agriculture department, Mr. Arumugam said the government was keen on providing quality seeds and planting materials to farmers.

Greater efforts would be taken to produce and distribute hybrids of different crops to increase productivity.

Under the Seed Village Scheme, 5,000 villages were covered for paddy and 500 villages each for oilseeds and pulses in the last two years. This year also, it would be implemented at a cost of Rs. 2 crore.

As part of the National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP), precision farming would be promoted through the departments of Agriculture and Horticulture.

An amount of Rs. 63.68 crore had been set apart. Projects under the National Horticulture Mission were carried out at a cost of Rs. 75.76 crore last year while this year the allocation was Rs. 120 crore.

Talking of the working of sugar segment, Mr. Arumugam said cane farmers felt encouraged to take to sugarcane production as the State government paid the State Advised Price and the Cooperative and public sector mills bore the entire cane transportation charges.

This year, the State Government decided to set up co-generation plants in all the 17 cooperative and public sector sugar mills at a cost of Rs. 925 crore through the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and the proposed additional capacity would be 185 megawatt (MW).

Power connections

To Pattali Makkal Katchi leader G.K. Mani’s query whether priority in providing power connections would be given to all farmers as proposed to be done in the case of agri-business units, Mr. Arumugam replied that it would not be possible. However, every year, 40,000 connections were given to farmers.

To the observation of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam deputy leader O. Paneerselvam that the absence of any announcement regarding the minimum support price of Rs. 1,000 per quintal for paddy, the Minister responded that a price of Rs. 825 per quintal was being given. “Just as you have been seeking higher price, we too are demanding it,” he said.