Tamil Nadu

TN Agriculture department sets target for producing biofertilisers

Officials inspecting the Tamil Nadu Agriculture department’s \liquid bio-fertiliser unit in Ramanathapuram. File photo   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In an effort to encourage farmers to reduce their dependence on chemicals in farming, the Agriculture department has directed districts to produce enough biofertilisers in liquid form, which have a longer shelf life compared to the ones in powder form.

"The district-level biofertiliser laboratories have been given targets for producing seven kinds of these bacteria-based fertilisers that will help anchor nitrogen in the soil and assist in making the available phosphate and phosphorus in the soil to the plants. These can be used for all kinds of plants, including paddy and vegetables. We have one targetted at groundnut and another for pulses," explained a senior official in the department.

Not stopping with production, extension activities have also been planned to ensure proper usage of these biofertilisers. "The use of NPK fertilisers helps reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers by 25% and aids in improving the soil profile over a period of time. It also leads to a cut in agricultural input costs," explained another official.

The government has 22 units producing biofertilisers with capacities of 50,000 litres each and producing a total of 11 lakh litres per year. There are nine private-run units too that produce 9.85 lakh litres annually.

‘Delay in delivery a concern’

Meanwhile, farmers in several parts of the State, who welcomed the plan, said that by the time the biofertilisers reached their depots they were nearing expiry dates. "We buy seeds and stock them ahead of the sowing season. But if the fertiliser is nearing the expiry date then we can not use it. Not many farmers use biofertilisers since they are not aware of its advantages," said Seshadri, a farmer from the northern Tiruvallur district.

At Tirupattur, Jayagopi, a farmer who is the chairman of a farmers producers organisation, said that though they very much would like to stock and sell biofertilisers to members, they were unable to do so. "Several of our members do not realise the importance of these and instead just keep them aside saying it involves too much of work. If they are to dip the seedlings in liquid biofertilisers, it takes more farm hands, which we do not have," he said.

Progressive farmer Ravichandran of Thiruvar said that the absence of extension activities by the agricultural department was a major reason for the lack of awareness among farmers. Staff who are supposed to carry out extension activities are busy with other work. "Also farmers expect bio-fertilisers to perform wonders almost over-night. They are used to urea and know how it works," he pointed out.

Another farmer from Chengalpet, Parasuraman, said that there should be trial plots in every district showing how these work and how they should be used. The government must also have a follow-up mechanism so that it knows how much is being used by farmers, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 7:01:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-agriculture-department-sets-target-for-producing-biofertilisers/article35163796.ece

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