Erode: Do not use land under food crops for cultivation of other crops

Officials told to ensure that farmers get a good price for their produce

ERODE: In promoting various crops, Horticulture Department officials should ensure that they do not take away land under food crops, C.V. Sairam, senior scientist, Zonal Project Directorate, Indian Council for Agriculture Research, Bangalore, has said.

“In the interest of the society, the Department officials should not use land under food crops for promoting any other crops, as food crop production is on the decline,” he told the Department officers at the one-day master training programme on Technological Options in Production, Post Harvest Management and Marketing of Aromatic Crops, the MRADA Krishi Vigyan Kendra conducted here on Friday.

“I understand that other crops should also be promoted and that Horticulture Department officials have targets to meet, which can be easily achieved by working in coordination with other departments.”

Mr. Sairam also asked the officers to ensure that farmers get a good price for their produce, as they “win on farms but lose out in markets.”

V. P. Alagesan, assistant director, Horticulture Department, Erode, said under the National Mission on Medicinal Plants, the Department had promoted gloriosa cultivation on 150 hectares and provided subsidy for the same to farmers.

The Department provided 50 per cent of the estimated cost of cultivation of Rs. 1.35 lakh a hectare and had given the subsidy to135 farmers, he said and added that gloriosa seeds were used for preparing medicines to cure knee pain.

Mr. Alagesan said in the current year, the Government had given a target of 200 ha and the Department had achieved the target by promoting the same plant.

He conceded that gloriosa cultivation was concentrated in and around Moolanur and Dharapuram, areas that were part of Tirupur district, but under the jurisdictional control of the Erode office of the Department. Once the control of the areas was transferred to the Tirupur office, the Erode office would have a tough time meeting the targets as in rest of the areas of the district, there was hardly any cultivation of medicinal plants and herbs.

The programme would provide the right opportunity for the Department officers to take up cultivation of medicinal plants, herbs and aromatic plants in other parts of the district, he added. G. Santhanam, assistant general manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Erode, said under the Banks tribal development programme to be taken up in Thalavady, Bargur and Kadambur hills, the Department officers could consider promoting herbs and aromatic plants.

M. Balusamy, professor and head, Agriculture Research Station, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Bhavani Sagar, said the University was committed to providing support to initiatives of the Department by giving quality seeds and saplings.

MYRADA-KVK Programme Coordinator P. Alagesan spoke on the activities of the organisation and explained how it had promoted rosemary cultivation in the hills and also offered marketing assistance for the farmers.

From THE HINDU

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