Coconut farmers can heave a sigh of relief as the Coconut Development Board is to extend subsidy assistance to farmers in Tamil Nadu to replace the old, senile, pest and disease infested, and unproductive palms, and rejuvenate the remaining trees on a mission mode.
“We have earmarked Rs. 20 crore for Tamil Nadu to disburse as subsidy for the 2016-17 financial year for the purpose. The disbursal of subsidy and implementation of the scheme will be done through the State Agriculture Department.
“This is for the first time such an assistance is being be extended to coconut farmers in Tamil Nadu”, G. R.Singh, the Chief Coconut Development Officer of Coconut Development Board under Government of India, told The Hindu.
The project is aimed at enhancing the production and productivity of coconut as the impotent trees affects the overall yield and profit margins of the farmers.
Besides replacing such palms, the scheme also covers the rejuvenation of existing trees through integrated management practices.
S. Selvaraj, a coconut farmer and chairman of the farmers’ consortium named ‘Udumalpet Coconut Farmers Producer Company’ pointed out that the scheme would definitely enthuse the farmers to replace the old palms that constitute almost 10 per cent of the total palms in districts like Tirupur, by rotation.
“Similarly, when sudden pests and disease attack occurs, usually around 50 to 60 trees out of the 175 trees been planted in every hectare will somehow gets affected before the farmers could take measures to combat the pest.
“Since the scheme covers such replacements too, it will help farmers reduce losses to a significant level”, he opined.
On the scale of subsidy, Deputy Director of Coconut Development Board R. Gnanadevan said Rs 1,000 was earmarked for cutting and removal of unproductive palms, Rs. 17,500 towards cost of rejuvenation per hectare for a period of two years, and bear 50 per cent of seedling cost at the rates fixed.
Source : The Hindu