The Agriculture Department has taken up an experiment for introducing “ragi” (finger millet) as a viable and assured alternative to paddy farmers, particularly “kuruvai” cultivators, so that they can switch over to a more profitable crop with assured return.
The department has raised Co 15 variety on the State Seed Farm in Tirukadaiyur as the crop can be raised with limited irrigation facility in two spells (pattam) either between June and July or between October and November.
The duration of the crop is 125 days and it can be raised as a rain-fed crop. This is the first time that the Agriculture Department has raised the crop at its Government Seed Farm at Tirukadaiyur, said S. Palanisamy, District Collector.
Addressing the media after visiting the farm on Tuesday, he said the crop needed minimum cultivation practice.
Even summer showers would be quite sufficient for cultivation.
Based on its success at the Seed Farm, the department would recommend it to the farmers from the next season.
The experiment, he said, had twin advantages. It aimed at implementing the State government's programme to popularise minor millets among farmers.
J. Sekar, Joint Director of Agriculture, said the yield was expected to be around 3.4 tonnes per hectare.
There have been complaints from farmers in rain-fed areas or the tail-end belts of the Cauvery that they do not have adequate water for raising ‘kuruvai’ and hence the department evolved this strategy for their rescue, he added.
Farmers would be trained on raising the crop with adequate spacing and the type of fertilisers to be utilised during the cultivation period.
Source : The Hindhu