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Saturday, Sep 25, 2004

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Dindigul jatropha plans

Our Correspondent

MADURAI: The Dindigul administration has taken up efforts to popularise jatropha cultivation among the farmers in the district.

According to the District Collector, Mr S. Murugaia, the effort is to convert large tracts of wasteland into cultivable lands and create employment opportunities in the rain-fed areas in the district as requirements of water consumption for the crop is less, besides being labour-intensive.

He said 400 hectares of wasteland have been identified in the district and 500 farmers have been sounded for raising this crop. Jatropha saplings raised by the self-help groups are ready for distribution. The farmers could harvest the crop throughout the year and arrangement for procurement of jatropha seeds from farmers would soon be fixed. The District Rural Development Agency would train 1,500 farmers in a phased manner for jatropha cultivation this year. The seedlings would be supplied at Rs 3.50 per plant. Besides jatropha, cultivation of sweet sorghum and sweet beet would be imparted to farmers, he added, while inaugurating a one-day workshop on cultivation of these crops for district level officials, held at Dindigul recently.

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