Tamil Nadu Agricultural University will provide technology backup
Saplings to be distributed through 9 bio-fuel units Plea for a Minimum Support Price for seeds
COIMBATORE: Tamil Nadu has launched a systematic jatropha cultivation programme, with technology backup and 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for procuring saplings.
The Government has sanctioned Rs. 4.98 crore as 50 per cent subsidy for 332 lakh Jatropha saplings that will be distributed to farmers through nine bio-fuel industries.
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has been entrusted with the task of producing quality saplings. The nine bio-fuel units will cover a considerable area in coordination with the Joint Director of Agriculture and the Assistant Director of Agriculture (Oil, Palm and Oil seeds), Chennai, says a university release.
Since the university initiated research on jatropha in 1992, it would not only support saplings production but would also undertake seed quality testing and certification, train entrepreneurs in nursery technology and monitor sapling production.
Representatives of the nine bio-fuel industries met at the university recently to interact in the presence of Vice-Chancellor C. Ramasamy. They were made aware of the programmes planned by the Government to promote jatropha.
Mr. Ramasamy said: "Besides producing saplings, the university will train 10,000 farmers, 1,000 non-governmental organisations and some entrepreneurs. Fifty lakh saplings will be produced in 14 research stations of the university throughout the State. These will be handed over to the bio- fuel industries, which in turn will distribute them to the farmers."
Centre of Excellence
The Vice-Chancellor said the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had sanctioned a Centre of Excellence in Bio-Fuels to be set up at the university at a cost of Rs. 1.49 crore to support bio-fuel research.
The representatives suggested that jatropha be made an agricultural crop for enabling the growers to avail themselves of bank loans and drip irrigation subsidy. They also sought a Minimum Support Price for seeds. The meeting also decided to use only seeds of known pedigree and genetic purity.