Plan to bring maize cultivation under contract farming

PROMISING GOOD YIELD: Maize crop in Tuticorin district. Photo: N. Rajesh

PROMISING GOOD YIELD: Maize crop in Tuticorin district. Photo: N. Rajesh  

R. Vimal Kumar

Move to enhance productivity to 5,000 kg from 3,500 kg per hectare

Tuticorin: Maize farmers can rejoice, as the Department of Agriculture has decided to bring maize cultivation under contract farming during this fiscal too in the district.

The decision was a boon to the farmers as they were assured of a minimum support price for their produce and it would help them avoid distress sale.

Speaking to The Hindu , S. Subramanian, Joint Director of Agriculture, said the department plans to bring 13,000 ha of maize cultivation in five blocks under contract farming this fiscal via-a-vis 11,095 ha brought under the scheme for the first time during the last financial year.

"We had identified 2,782 farmers from 115 villages for the contract farming scheme this fiscal," he added.

Of this, 22 villages (327 farmers) fall under Ottapidaram block, eight villages (340 farmers) under Kovilpatti, 25 villages (850 farmers) under Kayathar, 20 (440 farmers) under Vilathikulam and 40 villages (825 farmers) under Pudur block.

Mr. Subramanian said the produce would be procured by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) either at Rs. 540 a quintal or at the market price, whichever is high at the time of procurement.

"Last year, we procured the produce at Rs. 540 per quintal, which was higher than the then market price," NAFED sources pointed out.

To enhance the productivity, the department had distributed hybrid seeds and fertilizer inputs such as Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), bio fertilizers and micro nutrient mixtures to the farmers.

"We plan to enhance the productivity to 5,000 kg per hectare from 3,500 kg per hectare registered during the last fiscal," Mr. Subramanian said adding that about 8,000 tonnes of produce was expected to be harvested this fiscal.

The department had made arrangements to extend credit facility to the needy farmers at the rate of Rs. 3,000 per acre.

"Last fiscal, the scale of finance was only Rs. 1,700 per acre," he said.

The NAFED will establish procurement centres at Perumalpatti, Kovilpatti, Villisery, Kumarapuram, Kazhugachalapuram, Vilathikulam, Pasuvanthanai, Pudur and Aadanoor to store the produce.

The procurement was expected to commence in February.

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