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Take up cultivation of alternative crops, farmers told

By Our Staff Reporter

KULITHALAI, NOV.5. `Be receptive to fresh ideas and take up cultivation of alternative crops such as jatropha and oil palm; it will be practical and profitable depending on the rainfall pattern and climatic conditions,' the Karur Collector, G. Ramamoorthy, said here recently.

Addressing a workshop for farmers and self-help group members on `alternative crops, trees and organic farming practices,' organised by Gramium, a non-governmental organisation, he said that there was a lot of competition in marketing farm produce and thus post harvest management techniques were playing a vital role.

That an increasing number of farmers were adopting organic techniques augured well for export of farm products, he said and reminded the producers that consumers wanted good stuff.

Calling for increased awareness among farmers of cultivating alternative crops such as jatropha and oil palm, he said that there was a turnaround in the fortunes of oil palm farmers and they could expect a better future.

Similarly, in the Aravakurichi taluk of Karur district, around 1,000 acres was brought under jatropha and campaigns on jaropha cultivation were held throughout the district when farmers were told about the benefits of cultivating jatropha in dry conditions.

The Kulithalai Revenue Divisional Officer, Ganesan, said that the local consumers had assimilated many alternative crops such as chillies from Mexico, guava from Protugal, sugarcane and groundnut.

The convenor, Farmers Discussion Group, Kulithalai, A.V. Gopaladesikan, explained the benefits that could accrue to farmers who take up alternative crops such as jatropha, sugar beet, sweet sorghum and oil palm, but they should be prudent in water management.

The Joint Director (in-charge), Agriculture, T.R. Narayanasamy, the Deputy Director (horticulture), Paramasivam, progressive farmer Thugili C. Subramanian, and vermin culture expert Gopalakrishnan presented their views on several aspects of organic farming.

The Gramium Director, V. Narayanan, observed that his organisation was focusing on propagating the virtues of sustainable farming in Kulithalai and Krishnarayapuram.

A large number of farmers and women SHG members attended the workshop.

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