Tamil Nadu scales down foodgrains target

-The Times of India

CHENNAI: Failure of monsoon and farmers' distress have forced the state government to scale down the target for foodgrains production for the next financial year to 100 lakh tonnes, a 32% fall from the initial target set for the current financial year.

Announcing this while presenting the budget, finance minister D Jayakumar said a slew of measures was being taken to overcome the water shortage. Considering that sugarcane is a highly water-intensive crop and the area under cultivation is coming down, special efforts will be made to increase the area under drip irrigation to enhance productivity. "The state has set a target of extending drip irrigation to 35,000 acres of sugarcane fields and bringing 40,000 acres under sustainable sugarcane initiative method of cultivation," the minister said. The agriculture department promotes cultivation of pulses wherever sufficient groundwater is available,by adopting various technologies including water conservation techniques.

About 57% of the area under cultivation in the state is rain-fed. Considering its vulnerability to vagaries of weather, a mission on sustainable dry land agriculture has been launched, providing subsidized seeds and ploughing subsidy for taking up cultivation of crops sustainable for dry lands such as millets, pulses, oil seeds and cotton.While the scheme is implemented in 200 dry land clusters of 2,500 acres each, another 400 clusters will be taken up next year, covering 10 lakh acres of dry land.

To help small and marginal farmers, Jayakumar said the state would launch "farmer producer organizations" to promote collective farming for credit mobilization, better adoption of technology and to facilitate effective forward and backward linkages. Next fiscal, 2,000 farmer producer groups will be promoted, each comprising not less than 100 farmers.

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The Times of India, 17 March, 2017, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-scales-down-foodgrains-target/articleshow/57680590.cms

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