Agriculture

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN VELLORE DISTRICT

Agriculture is the prime driving force for food security, rural economy and sustainable socio- economic development of farmers. Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest livelihood provider particularly in rural areas.

Government of Tamil Nadu to achieve its vision of Second Green Revolution in the State has taken steps to reinforce farmer-friendly strategies to increase cropped area; fostering innovative crop-specific agricultural practices, to improve farm productivity and farmers income; designing robust infrastructure to transform the existing livelihood farming into a commercial and dynamic farming system; mechanizing agricultural operations to make farming smarter by saving time and cost; enriching farming knowledge and empowering farming community through use of ICT; establishing well structured marketing system and strengthening extension services for large-scale dissemination of productivity – increasing technologies, capacity building and supplying critical inputs for Farming Communities.

AGRICULTURE IN VELLORE

Vellore district ranks 7th place in area of the State with a total geographical area of 5.92 Lakh Hectare and with Net Cultivated Area of 1.74 Lakh Hectare.

RAINFALL

With distinct periods of rainfall and distribution pattern, Vellore is entirely dependent on monsoon rains for recharging its water resources and thereby, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.
The average annual rainfall of the District is around 971.1 mm distributed at 39.8 mm during Winter (January – February), 106.6 in Summer (March – May), 439.1 in South-West Monsoon (June – September) and 385.6 in North-East Monsoon (October – December)

INFRA STRUCTURAL FACILITIES

SOIL TESTING LABORATORY, VELLORE

This laboratory is functioning at Melalathur as head Headquarters from 1966.

OBJECTIVES

    • Based on soil analysis (Soil texture, Lime status, pH, Electrical Conductivity, available N P K (Kg/ac) & Micro nutrients content in ppm levels) suggestions are given with fertilizer recommendations for major crops grown in the particular village/block.
    • The quality of irrigation water (EC, pH, Carbonate content, Bicarbonate content, Anions (Chloride, Sulphate), Cations (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, potassium) are analysed in detail and recommendations are given for selecting suitable crops in problematic waters.
    • Conducting soil test awareness campaigns in villages to create awareness among farmers regarding usefulness of soil testing and better use of fertilizers.

SOIL SURVEY AND LAND USE ORGANISATION

This organisation started functioning from 1977.

OBJECTIVES

    • To study, characterize and classify soils
    • To assess the potentialities and limitations of soils
    • To evaluate the soils by various interpretative systems for effective land use planning
    • To suggest suitable management practices.

AREA OF OPERATION

  • Thiruvannamalai district
  • Villupuram district
  • Cuddalore district
  • Kanchipuram district
  • Thiruvallore district
  • Chennai

PESTICIDE TESTING LABORATORY

Pesticide Testing Laboratory, Vellore was started in the year 2009.
Objective of the Pesticide Testing Laboratory is to make availability of Standard Pesticides, Weedicides, Fungicides according to the Insecticides Act 1968 and to eradicate the sales and availability of spurious and non standard pesticides in the market. Each year target will be fixed by the Director of Agriculture, Chennai and the pesticide samples received from the Block Insecticide Inspectors of different districts will be analysed for its pesticide composition either by Gas Liquid Chromotography or High Performance Liquid Chromotography.

Volumetric analysis are also done here for particular chemicals. Results are being sent within 30 days of the receipt of the samples. The Protocols for analysis are done as per the Beauraeu of Indian Standard (BIS). The Insecticide analyst here should undergo a certification training conducted by National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM) .As per the protocol the Misbranded pesticide sample result are immediately sent to the concerned block insecticide inspectors for legal actions.

LIQUID BIO-FERTILIZER PRODUCTION UNIT

In Vellore District, one Liquid Bio-Fertilizer Production Unit was established in Natham Village of Gudiyatham Block under NADP Scheme during August 2017. The Unit produces Liquid Bio – Fertilizers of Azospirillum for Paddy and other crops, Rhizobium for Pulses and Groundnut and Phosphobacteria and distribute the same to Vellore and Thiruvannamalai Districts.

SEED PROCESSING UNITS

There are three Government Seed Processing Units and four Private Seed Processing Units functioning in Vellore district.

Government SPUs

  1. Avarakarai ( Walaja block)
  2. Kalpudur(Katpadi block)
  3. Nemili (Nemili block)

Private SPUs

  1. Koorambadi (Arcot Block)
  2. Sirukarumbur ( Kaveripakkam block)
  3. Nemili ( Nemili block)
  4. Kalavai ( Thimiri block)

Paddy and millets seeds of all the blocks are being processed in these seed processing units and sent to their respective Agricultural extension Centers. The working capacity of the unit is about 200 MT/Yr. the annual processing target of the unit is about 200 MT/Yr.

FARMERS TRAINING CENTRE

The Farmers Training Centre mainly aims to impart the skill Demonstration and Training to the conveners and farmers on new crop varieties, new agronomic practices, Integrated nutrient management, Integrated pest management, Horticultural crop production, Quality seed production, Agricultural marketing technologists, Agri-Engineering technologists, Silk worm rearing, Agro forestry, Live stock rearing & Organic farming. Also helps the farmers to know the scheme details of Agriculture & allied department.

FARMERS DISCUSSION GROUP CONVENERS:

In our Vellore District we are having 300 Farmers Discussion Group Conveners spread all over the district. They are the bridge between the farmer and the Department. Each group is having 25 farmers as members.
Training to Farmers Discussion Groups Convenors, Village Based Trainings, Method Demonstrations, Peripatetic Training cum Secondary Demonstrations are being conducted every year on New technologies. Apart from these trainings, every year Farmers Day is conducted and the best conveners are recognised by awarding prizes. And the best farmer members of the FDGs are awarded for their best products exhibited during the Farmers Day Celebration.

AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

“Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms” is an ongoing scheme being implemented since 2005-06.

OBJECTIVES:

Providing innovative, restructured and autonomous institutions at the state/district/block level.
Encouraging multi-agency extension strategies involving Public/Private Extension Service providers.
Ensuring an integrated, broad-based extension delivery mechanism consistent with farming system approach.
Adopting group approach to extension in line with the identified needs and requirements of the farmers in the form of CIGs & FIGs;
Facilitating convergence of programmes in planning, execution and implementation.
Addressing gender concerns by mobilizing farm women into groups and providing training to them.
Moving towards sustainability of extension services through beneficiary contribution.

DISTRICT/BLOCK LEVEL ACTIVITIES

FARMER ORIENTED ACTIVITIES includes development of (SREP) mobilization of farmer groups, training/ exposure visit of farmers and improving their participation in technology dissemination process.
Under FARM INFORMATION DISSEMINATION local level agricultural exhibitions, information dissemination through printed materials and development of technology packages in electronic form are covered.
Under RESEARCH-EXTENSION-FARMER(R-E-F) linkages based activities include organization of Farmer-Scientist interaction at local level, organization of Field-days and Kisan Goshties and support for local level researchable issues which emanate from SREP.

PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO COLLECTOR (AGRI), VELLORE

FIELD ACTIVITIES

The Technical staff assist the District Collector in all Agricultural activities and make arrangements to review the progress made under all Plan Schemes by Agriculture, Horticulture, Agri Business and Agricultural Engineering Departments.

On behalf of the District Collector, the Deputy Director will be acting as the convenor of the Agricultural Production Committee and Agricultural Grievances Day meetings every month and will be monitoring the action taken on the Grievances of the farmers by all Department District Head Officers.

  • They also monitor the relief works under crop damages due to natural calamities and coordinate to all relief works.
  • Preparation of all reports with regard to agricultural activities, Proceedings of the meetings convened by the District Collector and sending them to Government.
  • Attending ajmois and area reconciliation works.
  • Attending District level Area coverage meeting conducted by DRO on 3rd working day of every month and assisting area reconciliation with Agricultural, Revenue and Statistics Departments.
  • Monitoring the availability of seeds, fertilizers and all other inputs at Agricultural Extension Centres and Primary Agricultural Co-operative Societies.
  • Monitoring of irrigation facilities from reservoirs and water level in tanks and wells.
  • Attending District level bankers meeting conducted by District Collector every month.

GOVERNMENT COCONUT HYBRID SEED GARDEN, NAVLOCK

Govt .Coconut Hybrid Seed Garden, Novlock, is situated on the banks of Palar river. Out of the total extent of 215.60 Acres, the cultivable garden land area (A,B,C,D&E blocks) is 175ac. The texture of the soil is sandy loam,sandy and clay loam. Trees of tall varieties (West Coast Tall & Lakshadweep Micro Tall) & dwarf varieties (Cowghat Orange Dwarf) ageing nearly 30-45 years are being maintained here. Tall, TXD, DXT & Dwarf seedlings are produced & supplied to the farmers.

COCONUT CROSSING CENTRE

The Coconut Crossing Centre is located in the Govt .Coconut Hybrid Seed Garden, Novlock. The Total area of Crossing Centre is 88 Acres and about 2000 Nos. of Tall Coconut Trees and 800 Nos. of Dwarf Coconut Varieties are maintained in the farm for crossing purpose.

STATE OIL SEED FARM, NAVLOCK

State seed farm, Navlock, Vellore district was started in the year 1968 with the motto of production and supply of foundation class seeds like paddy, Millets, Pulses and Oil Seeds of required quantity with high purity. Later in the year 1985 SSF was converted in to State Oil Seed Farm (SOSF) in focus to the production of Oil seed varieties exclusively. The soil texture of the farm is fine sandy loam to sandy clay loam. The total cultivable area is 55 Acres. The seeds which are produced in SOSF are distributed to various agricultural Extension Centers of Vellore Districts.

DISTRICT WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

The District Watershed Development Agency (DWDA), Vellore is a district level nodal agency established during 2003. Its main function is to oversee for the smooth implementation of Watershed Projects in the District.

The District Collector, Vellore, is the Chairman of the DWDA. The Joint Director Agriculture is acting as the project officer of this DWDA. The DWDA has a Multi‐Disciplinary Team (MDT) Comprising of Deputy Director of Agriculture, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Assistant Executive Engineer, Project Economist and a team of Watershed Development Team Members qualified in Agronomy, Engineering and Sociology. The village watershed committed chosen by the Gram Shaba is the implementing body at the field level with the help of WDT members of District Watershed Development Agency. The District Watershed Development Agency is acting as the Nodal agency for the implementation of this project.

The main objectives of the programme are as follows:

    • To create sustainable sources of income for the village community through the process of harvesting each and every drop of rainwater for irrigation, drinking and plantation development etc.,
    • Creating regular sources of income for the people from rainwater harvesting and water management.
    • To provide Employment opportunity through income generation of the watershed people, community empowerment, human and economic resources development.
    • Mitigating adverse effects of extreme climatic conditions on crops, human and livestock population and Ensuring overall development in rural areas through Gram Panchayats.

INTEGRATED WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME has been implemented from the year 2009-10 onwards. Vellore district comes under the North Eastern Agro climatic zone of Tamil Nadu.

OBJECTIVES OF IWMP

The main objectives of the IWMP are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, water and vegetative cover The outcomes are prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rainwater harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.

The salient features of IWMP guidelines are as follows

  • Cluster of Micro watersheds covering an area of 1000-5000 ha will be treated as a project.
  • Unit cost raised from Rs. 6,000 per ha to Rs. 12,000/ha.
  • Fund allocation for Livelihoods for resource poor and Productivity Enhancement of Agriculture and Livestock.
  • Project period is 4-7 years.
  • Fund pattern is 90:10 (Central and State share).
  • Powers have been delegated to States by constituting State Level Nodal Agency.
  • Dedicated institutions with professional teams at state and DWDA with financial assistance to dedicated institutions.
  • Project implementation in 3 phases. Preparatory phase, work phase and Consolidation phase.
  • Provision for foreclosure of the Projects.

SCHEMES

Increasing Agricultural Production and Productivity for 2017-18

Crop Status

Paddy, Millets Cholam, Cumbu, Ragi, Maize, Pulses like Redgram, Blackgram, Greengram, Oilseeds like Groundnut, other crops Sugarcane and cotton are cultivated predominantly in Vellore District.

To uplift the economic status of the farmers through increased area, production and productivity of various agricultural crops, the Government has programmed the following strategies during 2017-18:

Paddy

Paddy, which is the staple food crop of Tamil Nadu is extensively cultivated in Vellore District in a normal area of 42, 900 Ha. And it is cultivated in three major seasons viz., Sornavari (Apr – July), Samba (Aug – Nov) and Navarai (Dec – Mar).

State Government, over the years has taken surplus initiatives to introduce multifarious high-end technologies under various schemes to raise the productivity at farm level.

System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a bouquet of technological practices for judicious use of water was promoted in Vellore District. The impact of introducing this new technology was recorded by increase in 30% of production than conventional method of cultivation. This technology was popularized among the farmers through demonstrations under various Central and State Government Schemes. The Government is keen on reducing the weariness of farmers by promoting Machine transplanting of paddy through schemes and establishing SRI in the District.

Seed Village Scheme:

To encourage the farmers under this programme Certified Seeds are distributed at 50% subsidised cost.

B) Pulses

Pulses are a remunerative crop that enables the farmers to fetch higher income. In Vellore, pulses is raised in a normal area of 30,000 Hectares of which redgram occupies major area followed by horse gram, black gram, green gram.

Strategies such as promotion of pulses as pure crop, intercrop, bund crop besides encouraging the farmers to practice rice fallow pulses coupled with micro-irrigation units such as sprinklers and rainguns are adopted.

The major focus is on the following technologies:

System of Pulses Intensification, a package of steps for increasing the productivity with the following critical steps was adopted:

  1. Cultivation of season specific high yielding, pest and diseases resistant varieties.
  2. Seed treatment with Rhizobium and Phosphobacteria
  3. Maintenance of optimum plant population
  4. Integrated Nutrient Management
  5. Spraying 2% DAP twice, once at flowering and other 15 days after first spray
  6. Practice of Sprinkler irrigation during moisture stress period
  7. Integrated pest management to control pod borers

Redgram transplantation, a novel agricultural practice of raising and transplanting redgram crop is being popularized in the district. During 2017-18, the financial assistance of 25 Lakh Rs was extended for 1000 Ha.

National Food Security Mission – PULSES

Under this scheme pulses cultivation is promoted by integrating the production enhancement activities on a mission mode.

Pulses production is enhanced through utilization of rice fallow and intercropping of pulses with coarse cereals, oilseeds and commercial crops.

Activities such as cluster demonstrations on improved package of practices in Red gram, Black gram and green gram, demonstrations on intercropping with groundnut, cotton and cropping system based demonstrations, distribution of certified seeds of high yielding varieties, assistance for production of pulses seeds, Integrated Nutrient and Pest Management and distribution of resource conservation technology tools viz., tractors, sprayers and rotovators were taken up. Efficient water application tools like sprinkler, mobile raingun, pumpsets, pipes for carrying water were distributed to expand the irrigated area under pulses.

Under NADP, pulses improvement programme comprising of activities such as foliar spray of DAP, production and distribution incentive for quality certified seeds, promotion of redgram transplantation etc., has been implemented.

Oilseeds

NADP – Integrated production improvement programme for Oil seeds – The components such as production and distribution of certified seeds, castor as bund crop, Bio fertilizer distribution, seed drill sowing of groundnut with pulses as inter crop are being carried out.

National Mission on Oil seeds and Oil Palm-NMOOP – National Mission on Oil seeds and Oil palm comprises of three Mini Missions one each for oil seeds, Oil palm and tree borne Oil seeds. The objective of this Mission is to increase the vegetable oil requirement by Oil seeds, Oilpalm and tree borne Oil seeds.

Mini Mission –I (Oil Seeds)

Activities such as purchase of breeder seeds, production of Foundation and Certified seeds and distribution of certified seeds, production components such as distribution of Gypsum, Weedicides and Transfer of latest technologies through demonstration in Groundnut are being focused.

Mini Mission –II ( Oilpalm)

Components such as providing quality oilpalm seedlings for New area expansion, providing maintenance and intercropping support for previous year plantation, providing subsidy for Oil palm harvesting machinery and tools, borewells, diesel pumpset, vermicompost unit, training of officers and farmers are being implemented.

Mini Mission –III (Tree Borne Oilseeds)

Activities such as area expansion of Tree Borne Oilseeds plantations such as Neem and Pungam are being taken up.

Coconut

The schemes of Coconut Development Board (CDB) aim at improving the productivity of coconut through area expansion and adoption of scientific technologies to sustain coconut farming. Under this scheme, Quality Tall x Dwarf and Dwarf x Tall coconut seedlings are produced in the Navlock Coconut Nursery, Vellore district and distributed to the farmers.

As Coconut is largely affected by deficient rainfall, pest and diseases and natural calamities, Government of Tamil Nadu has sanctioned a scheme “Replanting and Rejuvenation of Coconut Garden” with 100 Per cent assistance of Coconut Development Board to restore the livelihood of the coconut growers.

The package includes assistance for cutting and removal of old/senile palms, replanting and rejuvenation of existing gardens through integrated management practices. Besides, control of Redpalm weevil is also being implemented.

Sugarcane

As sugarcane is the most important commercial, irrigated crop, Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI), an innovative set of agronomic practices involving shade net nursery using single bud-chips, transplantation of young seedlings besides adopting new planting methods such as wider spacing, precision farming/drip fertigation is being implemented under NADP (RKVY).

Input Plan

The Department of Agriculture is formulating seed and fertilizer plan every year based on the season, soil type, soil fertility status, farm-wise crop plan and cropping pattern, besides focusing on the requirements of the farmers.

Priority Schemes

Various special schemes incorporated with new viable technologies are implemented to realize the true potential of agriculture.

The Mission on Sustainable Dryland Agriculture (MSDA), focuses on improving the production and productivity of millets, pulses, oilseeds and cotton. The programme is implemented on a cluster approach with participation of farmers and providing capacity building training, developing water harvesting structures, adopting new agronomical interventions, besides value addition to fetch remunerative returns to the dry land farmers.

During the first phase (2016-17), 10 dry land clusters of 1000 Ha. each have been formed. Cluster wise Crop area has been identified and the Cluster Development Team and Block Level Team have been formed.

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture – Rainfed Area Development

Government of Tamil Nadu took another step in quest towards increasing the productivity of rainfed crops and income of the farmers by launching a land mark initiative Integrated farming system comprising of rearing milch cows/ goats under Rainfed Area Development .This scheme focuses on improving the production and productivity of millets, pulses and oilseeds by adopting appropriate water conservation measures. Besides, resource conservation technologies such as establishment of vermicompost units and farmers trainings were conducted.

Collective Farming

The Government of Tamil Nadu has announced in Budget Speech 2017-18 an innovative programme for organizing small and marginal farmers into Farmer Interest Groups and Farmer Producer Groups which will be federated into Farmer Producer Organizations to promote collective farming for credit mobilization, better adoption of technology and facilitate effective forward and backward linkages.

In 2017-18, as a pilot project, 98 such Farmer Producer Groups are promoted, each comprising not less than 100 farmers so as to cover 9800 farmers this year.

Each Farmer Producer Group will be given a corpus fund of Rs.5 lakh besides channelizing grants and credit available to Farmer Producer Organizations from NABARD and Small Farmer Agri Business Consortium.

Micro Irrigation

Micro Irrigation, a localized irrigation method that saves water and fertilizers is popularized by the State Government in a larger extent due to various advantages such as minimal soil erosion, reduced weed menace, uniform water distribution, maintenance of optimum plant population and increase in productivity and quality of agricultural produce.

Considering the importance of water saving interventions (Per Drop More Crop), the Government is providing 100% subsidy for small and marginal farmers and 75% for other farmers for micro irrigation under “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)” for both Horticultural and Agricultural Crops.

Crop Insurance

The new Crop Insurance Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” (PMFBY) conceptualized to protect the farmers from production risks, ensure food security, encourage crop diversification, besides enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector is implemented with an objective to extend financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events.

PMFBY is being implemented from Kharif, 2016 onwards in Vellore. Vellore has been categorized under Cluster III and PMFBY is implemented through New India Assurance.

Soil Health

The Department of Agriculture is implementing “Mission Soil Health Card” scheme launched by Government of India during 2015-16. Location specific GPS method of soil sample collection is followed. In irrigated area, samples are drawn from a grid of 2.5 ha and from10 ha grid in rainfed areas.

Organic Farming

To promote organic farming through cluster approach under Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of certification, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), a three year scheme of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is implemented. The financial assistance was extended for mobilization of farmers, capacity building, and procurement of organic inputs and establishment of organic input production units. 4 Clusters in Alangayam Block of Vellore district has been adopted for conversion to organic farming through Participatory Guarantee System (PGS).

Extension Activity

Farmers Oriented Integrated Agricultural Extension System (FOIAES)

This scheme was launched during 2015 in Tamil Nadu. The main objective of this new scheme is aimed at the Second Green Revolution through two fold increase in production and triple fold increase in income of farmers by cluster based approach of extension officials in each village.

The villages allotted to the Assistant Agricultural Officers is split into eight segments and registered in AGRISNET. The AAOs allotted with a fixed schedule of visit with four visits in the first four days of the first week of a month. The next four visits have to be done in the first four days of second week of the month. Thus a fortnight fixed schedule of visit has to be done by the AAOs in their allotted villages which have to be supervised periodically by the Agricultural Officers and Assistant Directors of Agriculture of the concerned blocks.

The AAOs have to visit the Farmers Discussion Groups, Amma Farm Women Groups, the Farmers Interest Groups and Farmers Clubs and disseminate the new technologies and schemes implemented in the Agricultural Department in the forenoon and in the afternoon they have to demonstrate the technologies.

This scheme facilitates better adoption of technology and effective forward and backward linkages for the Farming Community.