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Government Agriculture Schemes

Subsidized seeds, free biofertilizer for sorghum cultivators

Coimbatore: With growing awareness on the health benefits of consuming small millets, the state government has come out with a slew of incentives to encourage farmers to cultivate more of these grains.

Among the small millets, the government is promoting the more recently released varieties of the crops, believing that they are more potent and disease resistant. The agriculture department is in the process of informing farmers through its block level officers that if they cultivate small millets, they can enjoy many incentives.

“We are offering CO S 30 variety of sorghum seeds at half the cost. Once farmers begin sowing these seeds, they will also get biofertilizers for free,” said Dr Sylus, deputy director in charge of government of India schemes. “We are also encouraging farmers, who produce seeds of small millets, by buying the seeds at Rs 25 more than the market price,” he said.

Besides, the district agriculture department has been asked to increase the area under sorghum or chollam cultivation by 20% this year. “The state government’s focus is on nutri-cereals, by which it means small millets,” said Banumathy, joint director of agriculture.“Sorghum is now cultivated around 25,000 hectares. They have asked us to increase it to 29,000 hectares,” she said.

Among the small millets, cholam or sorghum are primarily cultivated in Coimbatore. “The other small millets like cumbu, ragi and minor millets are cultivated hardly in 150 hectares,” said an officer from agriculture department.

In the next two months, the department will demonstrate how to efficiently cultivate the CO S 30 variety of sorghum in 150 hectares of land in S Kulam and Sulur.

“We expect that if the cultivation is successful across these 150 hectares, more farmers in and around the area will be prompted to cultivate small millets,” said Dr Sylus.