During 2023-24, Cooperative crop loan to the tune of ₹14,000 crore will be given to the farmers in Tamil Nadu. Likewise, interest-free cooperative loan of ₹1,500 crore will be given to the farmers for goat rearing, dairying, poultry and Fisheries activities Agriculture Minister MRK Paneerselvam said while presenting the Agriculture Budget 2023-24.
In the year 2022-23, a total of 16.43 lakh farmers have been provided with crop loan of Rs.12,648 crore by cooperative department so far. This is an increase of 89 percent over the average of last 10 years, he said
.To achieve the goal, the State government will take various measures. For instance, the government will implement the Kalaignarin All Village Integrated Agricultural Development Programme wherein each hamlet, according to its potential, can become self-sufficient. The scheme is designed for the holistic development of agriculture in the hamlets based on the availability of water and soil fertility, through creation of necessary infrastructure and taking up needed works to fill the gaps.
The scheme is being implemented in convergence with the “Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam” of the Rural Development Department designed to create the necessary infrastructure for achieving inclusive overall development in these hamlets.
In the coming year, this scheme will be implemented in 2,504 village panchayats at an outlay of ₹230 crore.
Clusters of 10 acres will be identified to provide borewells. The water source will be powered by electricity-run or solar-powered pump setsand perennial crops like mango, guava, and amla will be planted and installed with drip irrigation facility under subsidy.
In all the 2,504 village panchayats, 300 households devoid of coconut trees in the village will be given two coconut seedlings free of cost and a total of 15 lakh coconut seedlings will be distributed.
To increase the groundwater level in these villages, 600 farm ponds will be established in farmers’ fields. Further, steps will be taken through the Fisheries department to promote fish culture in these ponds for the farmers to earn additional income, the minister said.
Village Agricultural Development Groups will be formed in all village panchayats, covering all the hamlets over a period of five years. The group will consist of 25 to 50 farmers from all categories as members.
In the coming year, in the first phase, groups will be formed in the 2,504 village Panchayats where Kalaignarin All Village Integrated Agriculture Development Programme is implemented and they will be given training. An amount of ₹2.5 crore will be allocated towards the formation and training of these groups.
Crop rotation enriches soil and increases productivity. To achieve this, an amount of ₹16 crore will be allocated in the coming year to encourage the cultivation of less water-requiring crops like millets, pulses and oilseeds during Kuruvai season in an area of one lakh acres.
To further expand and enrich this practice, assistance for cultivating these crops after paddy will be given to cover an area of six lakh acres in the coming year for which an allocation of Rs.24 crore will be made.
To make the agricultural graduates self-reliant and evolve as entrepreneurs, financial assistance at the rate of ₹2 lakh will be extended to 200 young Agricultural and Horticulture graduates to establish Agri-clinics or any other Agriculture related business for which ₹4 crore will be allocated. Seed, fertiliser, and pesticide licences will be issued to the selected beneficiaries as per their requirement, the minister said.
A special scheme will be implemented to promote organic farming in Nilgiris District over a period of five years at an outlay of ₹50 crore.
To protect farmers’ livelihoods from loss of income due to natural calamities, under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, during 2021-22, 26 lakh farmers have registered an area of 40.74 lakh acre.
The State government has given ₹1,695 crore as insurance premium subsidy and so far, ₹783 crore has been given as compensation to 6.71 lakh farmers.
Relief for an amount of ₹163.6 crore as input subsidy has been given to 1.82 lakh farmers from the State Disaster Response Fund for the crops affected by Northeast Monsoon, and unseasonal heavy rains in the months of January and February 2023, the minister said.