Tamil Nadu allocates ₹38,904 crore for agriculture in budget. Here is a breakdown

Minister MRK Panneerselvam said that emphasis in this budget was laid on large-scale agriculture mechanisation in view of labour shortage.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 21, 2023 | 6:03 PMUpdatedMar 21, 2023 | 6:04 PM

Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam. (mrk.panneerselvam/Facebook)

The Tamil Nadu Agriculture Department on Tuesday, 21 March, laid out a budget for ₹38,904 crore, as per the demands made by the agriculture-related departments like animal husbandry, fisheries, energy, water resources, rural development, revenue, cooperation, food, sericulture, and forest, as well as the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Department.

MRK Panneerselvam, the minister for agriculture, said that emphasis in this budget was laid on large-scale agriculture mechanisation in view of the labour shortage in agriculture, and that blue-collar jobs would be made available in this sector.

He added that cooperative crop loans to the tune of ₹14,000 crore would be given to the farmers and interest-free cooperative loans of ₹1,500 crore would be given to the farmers for goat rearing, dairying, poultry and fisheries activities in the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Chilli zone

In Tamil Nadu, chillies are grown over an area of 35,200 hectares in the Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai, and Thoothukudi districts.

As per the new budget, this area would be converged to form a “Chilli Zone”, and action would be taken to increase the cultivation to 40,000 hectares over a period of five years.

The minister also announced that exclusive clusters would be formed for horticultural crops such as jasmine, curry leaves, chillies, and jackfruit in districts where they are cultivated on a large scale.

This, he said, was aimed at giving a special focus on their production, value addition, and export.

Also read: Agri lands will not be acquired for industrial parks, says TN

For sugarcane farmers

Panneerselvam said that the state government was allocating ₹253 crore to provide a special incentive of ₹195 — over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of ₹2,821 per MT of cane announced by the Union government — to eligible farmers during the 2022-23 crushing season.

This would benefit around 1.5 lakh sugarcane farmers, he added.

An additional subsidy of 20 percent was being given allotted for high-value components such as agricultural machinery, value-addition machinery, solar-powered pump sets, solar driers, cold storages, integrated farming units, poly greenhouses, and shade nets to small and marginal farmers.

The outlay for those from the Scheduled Castes was ₹10 crore and for those from Scheduled Tribes was ₹1 crore, totalling ₹11 crore.

Nammazhvar Award for best organic farmer

In recognition of the great contribution made by environmental activist G Nammazhvar in the field of organic farming, the state Government will institute an award in his name.

It is to be given to the farmers who practise and promote organic farming and hand-hold fellow organic farmers.

The award will consist of ₹5 lakh cash and a citation, and would be given on the occasion of Republic Day.

Panneerselvam also announced that a special scheme would be implemented to massively promote organic farming in the Nilgiris district over a period of five years with an outlay of ₹50 crore.

Related: Tamil Nadu rolls out organic farming policy

Saving traditional seeds

The minister also announced that 10 farmers who had traditional rice seed banks would be given ₹30 lakh — ₹3 lakh each — in the coming year to encourage them to maintain traditional rice seeds with ethnic purity and provide them to other farmers, the minister announced.

He also announced that borewells would be erected in 300 SC and ST farmers’ fields with energised pump sets through EB or solar power for free. Drip Irrigation infrastructure, provided with subsidies, would also be installed.

The minister also announced a corpus fund to the tune of ₹100 crore for the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Also read: ₹20,000 per hectare relief for Cauvery delta farmers hit by rains