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Farmers take up pure crop cultivation of red gram

Serena Josephine. M



Spot study: Collector C. Rajendran interacting with a farmer at the red gram cultivation site at Madapalli in Tirupattur block.

TIRUPATTUR: Several farmers in Tirupattur and Kandhili blocks have turned to cultivation of red gram as pure crop following the introduction of the Central government-funded Accelerated Pulses Production Programme (A3P). Red gram was so far cultivated as an intercrop or mixed crop.

A total of 2,370 hectares of land – 1,185 hectares each in Tirupattur and Kandhili blocks - have come under red gram cultivation under the programme.

As many as 2,297 farmers have enrolled under the programme. This was being carried out as a pilot project for the entire State, officials of the Department of Agriculture said.

Joint Director of Agriculture, Vellore, R. Duraisamy said that till last year, red gram was cultivated as a inter crop with groundnut and cotton.

“However, the farmers did not adopt new technology in cultivating red gram. As a result, there was very poor yield which led to poor rates. But under this programme, we have provided them plenty of inputs. The seeds have been treated and inputs such as urea given. This will ensure good crop,” he explained.

In fact, a high yield and good quality seeds are being expected under this pilot programme. The department expects yield ranging from 1,000 to 1,200 kg per hectare.

“The farmers have the benefit of using low cost technology and unlike cotton, red gram requires less labour. If this is carried forward, the State will achieve self-sufficiency in pulses supply in the coming years,” he said.

Collector C. Rajendran, who visited a red gram cultivation site at Madapalli in Tirupattur block recently , said the profit for farmers would increase owing to good yield. The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, had allotted Rs. 108 lakh for the project.

M.S. Ramalingam, a farmer at Madapalli who had taken up cultivation of red gram as a pure crop on one hectare of land, said, “Earlier, I was cultivating cotton. But, I took up red gram cultivation under this programme due to shortage of agricultural labour. Even the wages of farm labour have shot up. Cultivating red gram involves less cost and less labour. This being a new variety of seed, we will have to wait and see how the yield is,” said the 55-year-old farmer.

The Agriculture Department had set aside 500 hectares of the cultivation for seed farm purpose. For helping farmers in getting a good rate for the produce, the department had chalked out plans to convene an interface to auction the produce.

“We will conduct an interface among the marketing section of the department, cooperative societies and private buyers. We will give the produce for the highest bidder,” Mr. Duraisamy said.

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