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Coimbatore, June 28

THE State Department of Agriculture has sought the Government's nod for setting up `Speciality Agri Clinics' at the panchayat union level, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Jag Mohan Singh Raju, has said.

Presiding over the Scientific Workers' Conference at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he said the department envisaged an outlay of Rs 100 crore for the proposed project. "This would be a comprehensive project for sharing and dissemination of information among the knowledge workers and IT would play a vital role. Networking of the various departments and an approach towards a common vision or goal are the need of the hour," he said and pointed out that the Scientific Workers' Conference (such as the one held at present) was an annual event.

In an evolving environment, there would be a need to upgrade information continually and this would be possible only if the departments are networked, he added.

The Agricultural Production Commissioner and Secretary to the State Agriculture Department, Ms Leena Nair, stressed the need for reorientation of present practices to enthuse extension workers. The Farm Varsity would have to find out the expectation of the farmers, instead of releasing new varieties every year. "You need to introspect, to find out the growers expectation from the University and reorient your research efforts," she told researchers.

Expressing concern over the rising area under fallow lands, from 12.08 lakh hectares in the 70s to over 15 lakh hectares in 2002, she called upon the scientists to take stock of the situation. "There is a sharp shift in the land use pattern, lack of penetration of new technologies and a perceptible disconnect between agriculture, rural organisation and the University."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 29, 2005)
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