TN promises ₹14k-cr crop loans to farmers in agriculture budget
Several long-term schemes implemented during 2021-22 after the DMK formed the government in May 2021 has resulted in 193,000 hectare of additional land being brought under agriculture resulting in a crop coverage of 6.348 million hectare, said Panneerselvam
The Tamil Nadu government will provide cooperative crop loans of ₹14,000 crore to farmers in the state during 2023-24 and interest-free cooperative loan of ₹1,500 crore for goat rearing, dairying, poultry and fisheries, agriculture minister M R K Panneerselvam said on Tuesday while presenting the budget exclusively for the agriculture department in the assembly.
In 2022-23, a total of 1.643 million farmers were provided with crop loans of ₹12,648 crore by the cooperative department, the minister said. “This is an increase of 89% from the average of the last 10 years,” he said.
Several long-term schemes implemented during 2021-22 after the DMK formed the government in May 2021 has resulted in 193,000 hectare of additional land being brought under agriculture resulting in a crop coverage of 6.348 million hectare, said Panneerselvam.
A foodgrain production of 11.19 million metric tonnes was achieved after six years which is 1.17 million metric tonnes higher than that of 2020-21, he said.
Since tomatoes and onions are produced in excess in seasons causing glut, the farmers leave the produce in the field without harvesting and during off- seasons, they become so expensive that common people cannot afford them, the department aims to implement an appropriate scheme to stabilise the supply of onion and tomato round the year.
A sum of ₹29 crore has been allocated for assistance for distribution of onion seeders, storage godowns, harvesting machines and onion de-toppers in the districts of Perambalur, Namakkal, Salem, Thoothukudi, Trichy, Dindigul and Tiruppur. Similarly, to increase the productivity of tomato, interventions, such as installation of drip irrigation, staking, cultivation of high yielding varieties and mulching, will be promoted in districts of Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Dindigul, Theni, Tiruppur and Coimbatore districts at an outlay of ₹19 crore.
The agriculture department has also recognised the increasing demand for horticultural crops of high value and marketability such as dragon fruit, avocado, date palm, lychee, mangosteen, fig and olive. “Farmers are keen to take up cultivation of these crops which are mostly imported in Tamil Nadu,” the minister said. So ₹2 crore has been allocated from the union and state governments to expand the cultivation of these crops covering an area of 1,000 ha during the ensuing year with subsidy along with training on cultivation practices.
The minister also announced that 150 farmers will be taken overseas to countries, such as Israel, the Netherlands, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, and the Philippines, to learn their practices where productivity is high by adoption of high yielding technologies. A sum of ₹3 crore will be allocated from the union and state government funds for this.
Last year, steps were taken to get the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for ten products including Sholavanthan Betel vine and Panruti Jackfruit. In this fiscal year, the department proposes to get GI tags for another ten products such as Krishnagiri Arasampatti coconut, Mulanoor Kuttai Moringa, Sattur cucumber, Thanjavur Veeramangudi jaggery (Achu vellam) with an outlay of ₹30 lakh.
The agriculture department will also take steps to adopt micro irrigation techniques for effectively utilising the groundwater to bring more area under cultivation. During the coming year, ₹744 crore will be allocated for implementation of the Micro Irrigation Scheme of which 60% of the funds, which is ₹450 crore, will be spent to cover 53,400 hectares. “Further, this government will insist the Union government to relax the ceiling of five hectare to avail of subsidy for micro irrigation and increase it to 10 ha and to reduce the minimum period from seven years to five years to re-avail subsidy for micro irrigation in the same field,” Panneerselvam said.
Considering the welfare of sugarcane farmers in Tamil Nadu, the government will allocate ₹253 crore to provide special incentive of ₹195 over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of ₹2,821 per MT of cane announced by the Union government to eligible farmers during 2022-23 crushing season. “This will benefit around 1.50 lakh sugarcane farmers,” the agriculture minister said.
The minister also proposed to implement the Tamil Nadu Millet Mission for a period of five years keeping in line with the United Nations General Assembly which has declared 2023 as the “International Year of Millets”. “Under this scheme, subsidies will be given for bringing millet cultivation to fallow lands and crop diversification to millets in 50,000 acres,” the minister said. It will be implemented with the financial assistance of the Union and State Governments at an estimated cost of ₹82 crore.He said 100 groups of millet producers will be formed by bringing together millet farmers and subsidies will be provided to install sprinkler irrigation systems for 12,500 acres. The government will also form 725 clusters covering an area of 14,500 hectares in 32 districts and create awareness about the importance of organic farming among farmers, rural youth, farm women and students.