TN govt announce chemical free programme to improve soil quality

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam on Tuesday announced a chemical free programme to improve soil quality called — Chief Minister’s Mannuyir Kaathu Mannuyir Kaappom Scheme (CM MK MKS) — while presenting the state agriculture budget for 2024-25.

The minister said that the new scheme is aimed at improving soil quality, and moving towards sustainable and chemical-free agricultural practices for the well-being of society.

He said that the allocation for the scheme will be Rs 206 crore for 2024-25.

“Soil is the basic necessity of agriculture and a base for growth. It provides all the necessary nutrients to all crops. The growth potential of crops depends on the fertility of the soil,” the minister said.

He said that shifting crop cultivation was essential to prevent the decline of soil health. “Tamils have been practicing this since ancient times,” he said.

The minister quoted from Sangam poetry and said that the current prevalent practices of monocropping and cultivating high-nutrient exhaustive crops have contributed to the gradual depletion of essential nutrients from soil.

He said that for the financial year 2024-2025, an allocation of Rs 20 crore has been earmarked for the distribution of Green Manure Seeds to cover 2 lakh acres, benefitting 2 lakh farmers.

Panneerselvam also said 10,000 farmers will be provided with vermicompost — two beds per farmer — for a total outlay of Rs 6 crore. Additionally, a sum of Rs 5 crore will be allocated for setting up permanent vermicompost pits.

The Minister also announced the government’s plan to launch an extensive soil testing initiative in farmers’ fields in 2,482 village panchayats selected under the Kalaignarin All Village Integrated Agriculture Development Programme.

He said that the allocation for the scheme is Rs 6.27 crore and this will be made from both state and Central government funds.

He said that an amount of Rs 7.50 crore will be allocated for the reclamation of 37,500 acres of alkaline soil and Rs 15 crore for the reclamation of 7,500 acres of acidic soil.

The minister said that an amount of Rs 7.50 crore will be allocated for the distribution of 5 lakh litres of liquid biofertilizers to cover an area of 10 lakh acres which will benefit 2 lakh farmers.


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