The district administration has intensified the drive to expand the area under red gram cultivation and also sensitise the farmers in this regard for increasing productivity.
To achieve the objective, the farmers have been asked to give up traditional cultivation practices and adopt modern technique to gain substantial yield. The farmers in the region were familiar with the practice of direct sowing of red gram, even though the yield was low.
According to the Collector S. Suresh Kumar this conventional practise yielded just 500—600 kg of red gram per hectare. Instead, if they raise nursery and go for replanting the 36-day-old saplings they could reap rich harvest, as the yield would go up by about three times to 1,300—1,400 kg per ha.
The Collector told reporters during his recent field visit that under the National Agriculture Development Mission it was proposed to set up pilot farms for raising red gram on 550ha for the current financial year 2014-2015 in the district.
Already, 525ha had been brought under the scheme. In Annagramam block alone 45ha out of the proposed 50ha had been covered.
The Collector further said that coordinated measures had been taken to promote agriculture, horticulture and fish culture, besides improving the lot of the farmers.
As part of this endeavour the farmers were encouraged to take to chrysanthemum cultivation that would fetch good dividends.
To increase the yield they were also provided with drip irrigation system with a subsidy component.
The farmers were also given a grant of Rs. 1.50 lakh for putting up green houses for raising vegetables and other horticulture crops.
The Collector also said that the farmers had also evinced keen interest in putting up farm ponds for breeding fish to supplement their income.
For instance, at Kandanpalayam in Annagramam block Kadhirvel, a farmer, had recently formed a farm pond to breed fish varieties such as rogue, katla, kendai and prawns. He had harvested the fish twice, so far and got 500 kg of fish each time.
The Collector also noted that to provide shelter to the farmers and economically weaker sections of the society permanent houses were being built under three programmes: Chief Minister’s Green House programme, the Indira Awaz Yojana of the Centre, and also under the aegis of the District Rural Development Agency.
In the Annagramam block alone 357 houses were being built and out of which those hit by the Cyclone Thane would get 255 houses.
At Poongunam village in Panruti block as many as 560 saplings had been planted at a cost of Rs. 66,000 to raise avenue trees, the Collector added.Special Correspondent