Madurai

Use of machinery, a value addition for small farmers

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Coconut growers manufacture coconut oil now

MADURAI

At a time, when the agriculture sector is faced with shortage of labour and other issues, the State government’s initiatives to provide alternatives have started to fetch desired results.

In a chat with reporters during a press tour organised by the Department of Agriculture to Chellampatti, Nattarmangalam, Nalluthevanpatti, Vagurani and other hamlets in Usilampatti block on Friday, Collector S. Natarajan said a transformation was taking place among small and marginal farmers with the use of modern gadgets.

He said the government had come out with novel ideas that would help farmers minimise their dependence on work force. A number of programmes were being implemented under the National Food Security Mission and National Agriculture Development Programme after examining the requirements of farmers individually.

Recently, farmers in Usilampatti belt were given gadgets such as weeder machine and paddy planting machine. Under collective farming programme, equipment worth ₹10 lakh had been provided with which they could produce coconut oil in a safe environment. Likewise, for packing commodities, they had machines in place, Mr. Natarajan said.

They had been trained to sell their products through e-network and the money got credited in their accounts. “This is a new initiative launched by the government. Not just one farmer but a group of farmers would gain in a big way as they can give the end product to consumers directly,” he said.

Under the NADP, 1,480 hectares had been fixed as target for planting paddy with the aid of gadgets this season, of which 180 ha would be in Chellampatti block. Nearly 180 farmers would benefit from this initiative and, for each hectare, a farmer would get ₹5,000 from the government, he added.

Joint Director (Agriculture) B. Kumaravadivel said apart from conventional paddy growing areas, vacant or barren lands had been put to use in a productive way by raising alternative crops such as millets and cotton, which required less water. The yield from these crops too had gone up manifold, thanks to technology and awareness of optimum use of fertilizers.

Expressing happiness over the good returns from cotton, a progressive farmer who raised the crop on four acres in Vagurani hamlet, however, said wild pig menace was on the rise. The Collector said he would take it up with the District Forest Officer.

Under the District Watershed Development Agency, a check dam had been established At T. Kallupatti with a subsidy of ₹1.50 lakh. This was bound to enhance the water table and also help farmers conserve water, officials said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:37:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/use-of-machinery-a-value-addition-for-small-farmers-madurai/article25852436.ece

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