The Tamil Nadu Agriculture Budget for 2022-23 lays emphasis on the use of technology like IoT, drones and remote sensing, besides envisaging a role for industries and other allied departments to ensure remunerative prices for farmers and enhancing employment opportunities in the farm sector.
Pushing for greater involvement of various departments to further improve the farm sector and make it viable, state Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister M R K Panneerselvam presented the Agriculture Budget for Rs 33,007.6852 crore in the Assembly on Saturday.
He announced that an industrial estate for agro products will be set up in Tiruvarur district by Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation (TANSIDCO) to ensure remunerative prices to farmers for their produce and also create employment opportunities.
Tamil Nadu Start-up and Innovation Mission (TANSIM), in partnership with Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department, will organise a special hackathon for agriculture-related technical problems to identify start-ups who can solve their problems. ”Such agritech start-ups with commercially viable ideas will be funded with a grant of up to Rs 10 lakh,” he said. Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO), with Central assistance, will be encouraged to start small agro-based enterprises, he added. In order to overcome the shortage of labourers and to ensure precise application of required agricultural inputs in farmers’ field, drone infrastructure will be created in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and its constituent colleges, research institutes and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Under the farm mechanisation – Kisan Drone scheme – 60 drones will be purchased at a cost of Rs 10.32 crore during 2022-23. Awareness will be created in drone technology by imparting adequate training on the use of drones and demonstration will be conducted by TNAU in 14,400 hectares area, he said.
Schemes for establishing suitable water harvesting structures and ground water recharge systems have been introduced in the Budget for increasing production in dry land. ”All these components will be taken into account for agriculture development and this government will take steps to achieve 126 lakh MT of food grains production in 2022-23,” the Minister said. Steps will be taken to take up paddy cultivation in an area of 19 lakh hectares this fiscal by implementing Strategic Paddy Cultivation Programme for getting higher yield with an allocation of Rs 32.48 crore under Union and State government fund.
The new digital technology Internet of Things (IoT) will be adopted in the state Seed Farms and State Horticultural Farms for automated irrigation and fertigation, for offering training to farmers on this new technology. Further, an exclusive portal -Tamil Mann Valam-, will be launched in co-ordination with TNAU to facilitate the farmers to get soil fertility status of their lands, survey number wise, and obtain print out of the soil health cards on their own, Panneerselvam said.
Farmers will be provided with facilities to pay their contribution through e-Challan, credit card, debit card, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) at Agricultural Extension Centres for purchasing agricultural inputs. This cashless transaction will be adopted on pilot basis in one block in each district, he said.
”I proudly inform that the scheme comprising new digital technologies will be implemented at a cost of Rs 8 crore with Union and State Government fund.” In order to make youth agri–entrepreneurs, the government would extend financial assistance at the rate of Rs 1 lakh each to the 200 unemployed agriculture or horticulture or agricultural engineering graduates for establishing agri clinic or agro-based activities with the financial allocation of Rs 2 crore. Skill training will be imparted to 2,500 rural youth during 2022-23 fiscal as done in previous year, to encourage them to take up agriculture and agro-based industrial ventures.
The agriculture budget, the Minister claimed, ”will hoist agriculture to a zenith from the present abysmal platform, through relentless efforts and hard work.” With regard to last year’s agriculture budget, he said Government Orders have been issued for 80 out of 86 announcements made and the schemes are in various stages of implementation. Remaining six announcements are long-term in nature, and hence detailed guidelines are being formulated with components and estimates.
Among the various announcements were installing 3,000 standalone solar powered pumping systems (10 HP) with 70 per cent subsidy for Rs 65.34 crore, providing a subsidy of Rs 10,000 for purchasing new electric motor pumpsets or replacing worn out ones, to 5,000 needy farmers who own up to five acres land in Tamil Nadu.
He said vegetable wholesale market complex will be established with public-private partnership in Theni, Coimbatore and Kanyakumari districts to facilitate traders and Kerala state Horticulture Corporation to purchase fruits and vegetables directly from Tamil Nadu farmers.
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