Thu Jan 31 2019
NAGAPATTINAM: The agriculture department has come out with a replantation scheme in Nagapattinam district to help farmers who lost thousands of coconut trees and other crops in Cyclone Gaja that struck last November. Farmers will be encouraged to raise black gram, sesame and other cash crops as intercrop on their idling land by giving seeds with a subsidy, officials from the agriculture department said. The department has decided to distribute 2.80 lakh coconut seedlings free of cost to farmers who lost their trees. The enumeration of uprooted coconut trees has been done by the block development officers.
The required pits would be dug with the help of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Scheme workers, they added. Post the cyclone, farmers who lost coconut trees have not been taking up agricultural activities for want of funds. In order to help them earn money within a short period, the state government has earmarked 10,000 acres where cash crops like black gram, sesame are to be raised, a senior official from agriculture department said.
“A total of 8,750 acres will be covered by black and green gram while sesame will be cultivated on 1,250 acres. To encourage the farmers to come forward to take up cultivation, each farmer will be disbursed Rs 4,000 as input cost per 2.5 acres. In the case of sesame, the subsidy will be Rs 3,000 per 2.5 acres,” the official said. This apart, 100 % subsidy would be given to farmers who are willing to cultivate grams to lay drip irrigation on 1,250 acres, the official said. Farmers who want to benefit from the scheme have been asked to contact their respective block development officers for further details.
However, farmers pointed out that nothing could be cultivated without water. They demanded that the government release water from Mettur reservoir to safeguard standing crops for five to six more weeks. President of Cauvery Delta Farmers Association Cauvery S Dhanapalan said that the entire district had become dry. “When farmers are struggling to safeguard their standing crop, how can they initiate cultivation afresh without water,” he asked. The state government should release water from Mettur till the end of February at least, he added.