Women farmers told to become self-reliant

Udupi Jan. 3. The Minister of State for Ports and Fisheries, Vasanth V. Salian, on Thursday, called upon woman farmers to become active participants in the agricultural sector.

Inaugurating a workshop organised by the zilla panchayat for women farmers, Mr. Salian urged them to become self-reliant and obtain technical information on dairying, horticulture, and sericulture, which supplemented agricultural income.

The minister also asked them to benefit from Government programmes.

V.S. Acharya, MLC, suggested that all coastal districts be declared horticultural districts. A horticulture college should be established here with more stress on research.

The district should also have food procession industries. The agrarian sector could progress only through horticulture. Innovations and reforms were necessary to solve the problems faced by it.

The MLC said 50 paddy varieties were cultivated in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in 1947. Now the paddy crop appeared to have become more of a burden to farmers.

In 1947, 28 crore of the population of 35 crore of the country depended on agriculture for a livelihood.

The population had now crossed a billion, and still 56 per cent of it were dependent on agriculture. Foodgrain production in the country was 52 million tonnes in 1947.

It rose to 215 million tonnes now. In 2001-02, foodgrains worth Rs. 6,600 crore was exported. In 1947, agriculture contributed 49 per cent of the GNP, and in 2001-02, 26 per cent.

U.R. Sabhapathy, MLA, said Bommarbettu, Manipur, Kudhi, and Alevoor villages in the Udupi Assembly segment had been selected for the Adarsha Gram Yojana.

This year, 1,000 pits would be dug for rainwater harvesting. Two lakes, one having an area of 38 acres and the other, 48 acres, would be developed here.

There were more than 600 self-help groups in the segment. A Swasahaya Bhavan would be built in Udupi. Watersheds were essential for agricultural development.

Women farmers should be educated about the benefits of water conservation, he added.

G. Srikantaiah, Deputy Director, Agriculture, delivered the introductory remarks. Sundar Naik, Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, presided over the function. A.S. Kumarswamy, Associate Director of Regional Research Station, Brahmavar, U. Ramesh Poojary, Manager of District Lead Bank, and Shivaji Suvarna, President of Belle Gram Panchayat, were present.

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