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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plan to promote precision farming techniques

DINDIGUL: Twenty five clusters covering 500 hectares would be established in various places in the district on an outlay of Rs.2.06 crore to raise various crops through application of precision farming techniques, said Collector R. Vasuki.

Each cluster would be developed in an area measuring 20 hectares. It would help farmers learn modern agriculture practices, use modern agriculture equipment, sophisticated irrigation management and pest control measures and application of organic manure and micro-nutrients.

With shortage of labour and increase in agriculture inputs, precision farming would not only scale down production cost but also ramp up production and ultimately profits.

One user group would be created for each cluster. All implements would be done through user group only. A hi-tech green house would also be developed in an area measuring 50,000 square metres.

To meet a growing demand for organic manure, 1,300 farmers — 100 farmers in each block in 13 blocks — would be engaged in organic manure production. They had been trained in use of vermi-compost and bio-fertilisers, she said.

A modern community nursery exclusively for sugarcane, cotton, sunflower, maize, pulses and oil seeds would also established to supply quality seedlings to farmers, for which Rs.25 lakh had been sanctioned.

Organisers were selected for eight blocks to set up agriculture clinics and small soil testing laboratories. Training was imparted to four organisers.

Identification of organisers was under way to set up the centres in rest of the blocks.

Each organiser would get Rs.6 lakh with 50 per cent subsidy. And Rs.42 lakh had been sanctioned for setting up of these clinics.

Self-help groups and members of Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture would also be involved in seed purification unit to supply quality seeds to farmers.