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«Date:02/05/2011 URL: Banana growers seek relief for damage S. Ganesan Gale uproots ...»

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Online edition of India's National Newspaper

Monday, May 02, 2011

Date:02/05/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/02/stories/2011050252900300.htm

Banana growers seek relief for damage

S. Ganesan

Gale uproots trees on several acres in Lalgudi belt; Government urged to survey damage


BITTER EXPERIENCE:A farmer pointing to the damage caused to his grove at Nerunchalakudi

TIRUCHI: With a gale destroying banana groves on several acres across the district, especially in Lalgudi belt, farmers have called upon the Government to take up a survey to asses the damage and sanction compensation for the affected farmers.

Over past 10 to 15 days, the summer showers accompanied by strong wind uprooted banana trees in groves across the district.

Farmers claim that they have lost lakhs of rupees, owing to the extensive damage.

Banana is a major cash crop in Musiri and Lalgudi belts in Tiruchi and Kulithalai in Karur districts.

A large portion of the banana grown here is sent to Kerala and other States.

In the latest incident on Friday night, large tracts of banana groves in Lalgudi belt were damaged.

(The gale also caused a disruption in the train services on the Tiruchi-Chennai section as a tree fell on the track near Pullampadi.) Banana groves in Nerunchalakudi, Ariyur, Angarai, Thirumedu, Pinnavasal, Kookur, Sriumayangudi, Mettupatti, Idayattrumangalam and other villages have been damaged.

In many places, fully grown banana trees in harvest stage have been uprooted.

Farmers say that the average investment for raising banana on an acre was around Rs.40,000.

Adult trees have been uprooted despite the support provided with bamboo poles in many groves.

A. Ganesan, who had grown banana on about 35 acres of leased land in Neruchalakudi lost the crop on about 15 to 20 acres.

“The wind was so strong that trees with bamboo support were also felled,” he said. Though he used to insure the crop every year, this year he had failed to do so as he could not get the relevant land records from the revenue officials “who were busy with government schemes.” A small farmer of Ariyur, D. Muthukaruppan of Ariyur had raised banana on about 1.25 acres.

Four hundred adult trees, out of the 1,000 in his grove, have been uprooted. His neighbour, S.Nagarajan, has also suffered heavy losses.

Mr.Nagarajan's situation has been aggravated as his lemon crop has also suffered damage, with the young fruits being knocked down by the gale.

“No salvage at all” Farmers say that there was no possibility of salvaging the banana trees as they have been felled by the strong winds.

The damage has come at a time when banana was fetching good prices at the market.

Banana growers in the region have been badly affected. Farmers of the region had raised different varieties of banana such as kathali, poovan, rasthali and karpooravalli. Only last week large tracts of banana groves were destroyed in the Thottiyam region.

The Government should take immediate steps to sanction compensation to the affected farmers, says P. Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Tank and River Irrigated Farmers Association.

Date:02/05/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/02/stories/2011050255660700.htm Farmers seek government's nod to export rice Staff Reporter COIMBATORE: Farmers affiliated to the Tamilnadu Toddy Movement have urged the government to allow export of rice. C. Nallasami said the prices of coarse and fine varieties of paddy in the open market had come down. To compound the problem the State Government had stopped procurement.

Last year the prices were around 1,200 a quintal in the open market. This year it was between Rs. 800 and Rs. 850. While the government procurement rate stood at Rs. 1,100 a quintal for the fine variety and Rs. 1,050 for coarse variety for the current year, farmers could not benefit since procurement had been stopeed.

The current situation would prompt farmers in rice-cultivating districts to leave their lands fallow in the ensuing cultivation season, he pointed out.

He said that the Union Government must come forward to allow export of rice Date:02/05/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/02/stories/2011050254650500.htm Warning against black marketing of Bt cotton Special Correspondent MYSORE: The district administration has warned against black marketing of Bt cotton seeds and urged the farmers not to pay more than the stipulated maximum retail price printed on the seed packets.

In a release, Deputy Commissioner Harsh Gupta said the demand for cotton seeds would be met and the distribution would be completed soon. The area under cotton cultivation is expected to go up to 54,000 hectares in the district, as against the 40,000 hectares last year. Hence, the Government has taken steps to ensure the distribution of quality seeds, said the release.

However, it has urged farmers not to demand seeds of any one particular company as it would be difficult to procure and supply them. They pointed out that the various Bt cotton seeds available in the market have been certified by the Department of Agriculture.

The farmers have also been urged not to pay higher amount than the MRP printed on the packets.

Date:02/05/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/02/stories/2011050253150300.htm Kanyakumari farmers all set to try sugarcane

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Nagercoil: For the first time in Kanyakumari district, farmers in Agastheeswaram, Thovalai and Kalkulam taluks have decided to go for sugarcane cultivation in over 300 acres. They plan to increase the coverage to 5,000 acres in phases.

Kanyakumari farmers used to raise paddy, banana, rubber, tapioca and other vegetable crops but not sugarcane. Paddy is raised in over 11,000 hectares. As they were not getting a lucrative price for paddy, they have decided to shift to a cash crop such as sugarcane on an experimental basis. A private sugar mill at Edaikkal near Tenkasi in nearby Tirunelveli district has not only come forward to lend financial assistance to the farmers but procure their produce as well.

About 50 farmers have planned to go on an exposure visit to Tirunelveli district on May 7 to learn sugarcane cultivation. It is expected that the socio-economic conditions of Kanyakumari farmers in the three taluks could get a boost through sugarcane cultivation in all the three taluks as sugarcane is considered to give better dividends than other crops, said A. Wins Andro, chairman of Kanyakumari District Water Resource Organisation.

The sugar mill has announced financial assistance through banks, seed at free of cost, transportation cost of seed to the farmers in Kanyakumari district and the sugarcane to the factory. A sum of Rs. 24,500 per acre would be given as financial assistance to each farmer.

The farmers were expected to get a yield of 40 tonnes of sugarcane from an acre. The procurement price was Rs. 2.000 per tonne. So they could get Rs. 80,000 from an acre. The new government in the State was expected to increase the procurement price to Rs. 2,500 and hence the farmers could get a maximum of Rs. 1 lakh per acre, he said.

Farmers in Kothaigramam Brahamin area, Navalcadu, Thiruppathisaram and Nakkamadamam areas near Nagercoil had already prepared their paddy fields for cultivation of sugarcane.

Paddy cultivation in the district would not be affected as the areas where the farmers wanted to raise sugarcane was remaining fallow owing to lack of a lucrative price for paddy.

The sugar mill has also decided to open a regional office in Nagercoil with adequate staff to give guidance to farmers on sugarcane cultivation. As the climatic and soil conditions were conducive for sugarcane cultivation, more and more farmers in Kanyakumari district would come forward to raise this crop, Mr. Antro added.

Date:02/05/2011 URL:

http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/02/stories/2011050253690400.htm Going gets tough for cashew nut producers K. Srinivasa Rao Heavy rains during last year led to cashew crop damageCashew nut prices expected to go up in the open market

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NOT SO ROSY:Workers processing cashew nuts at a unit at Palasa in Srikakulam district.

SRIKAKULAM: Cashew nut processing factories in Palasa-Kasibugga of Srikakulam district are forced to import raw material from African countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and other countries this year following unprecedented crop loss in the district and other parts of the State.

Andhra Pradesh has about 46,913 hectares of area under cashew with an annual production of 12,500 tonnes of raw nuts. Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasham and Nellore are important cashew-growing districts in the State.

Climate The crop requires a warm humid climate with a minimum of 600 mm rainfall but for good yield well distributed rainfall is a must. Cashew thrives under a wide range of temperatures.

Production down However, heavy rains in the one last year led to damage to the crop which could not grow in frost and cold waves.

Production has come down to 1.5 tonnes from 2.5 tonnes per hectare, causing huge loss to farmers in the district.

Last year, a bag weighing 80 kg. commanded a price of Rs. 5,000. It is likely to go up to Rs.6,500 this time, leading to skyrocketing of prices in the open market.

Fine variety cashew, which is available between Rs. 400 and Rs.450 a kg., may cross the Rs. 550-mark this year.

There are about 200 cashew processing units in the district and the owners are a worried lot.

Palasa Cashew Manufacturers Association president Molla Srinivasa Rao says, “We have to depend on other countries this time for cashew nuts as the production in the State cannot meet our demands. All the manufacturers require at least 2,500 tonnes per day.

Otherwise it will lead to huge losses to the mills, causing unrest among the workers.” Action plan sought Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha State wing vice-president Pudi Tirupati Rao wanted the Horticulture Department to come out with an action plan to improve production in the State.

In Maharashtra, which has adopted modern techniques, the yield per hectare is over 2.5 tonnes per hectare, the Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha leader added.

Date:01/05/2011 URL:

http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/01/stories/2011050154810500.htm Red chilli price: no tears, only cheer Staff Reporter good news:The price of red chilli is expected to increase from May.

COIMBATORE: The price of red chilli is expected to fetch between Rs. 77 and Rs. 91 a kg from April to June. Price is expected to increase from May. Hence, farmers are asked to store red chilli and sell later.

Analysis According to the Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell (DEMIC) of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, the analysis is made based on the price that prevailed in the Virudhunagar market during the last 10 years.

Chilli harvest began in Tamil Nadu in places like Virudhunagar, Ramnad, Paramakudi and Tuticorin, which are major markets. Major varieties are Virudhunagar Samba (Sannam) and Ramnad Mundu (Gundu). Prices are steadily raising from Rs. 5,260 a quintal from August 2010 with the expectation of low production during 2011 because of excess rainfall during fruit setting and less acreage sown for want of availability of labour due to employment guarantee schemes.

Details Traders opine that in the next two months price may touch Rs. 100 a kg due to decline in arrivals.

Compared to the arrivals of 10,000 to 12,000 bags a day in 2010, it is expected to be only 1,000 to 2,000 bags a day in 2011.

For details, contact DEMIC on 0422-2431405.

Date:01/05/2011 URL:

http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/01/stories/2011050155420700.htm Smart cards distributed to farmers Staff Reporter PUDUKOTTAI: The implementation of the ‘IOB Smile" scheme by the Iluppur branch of the Indian Overseas Bank, in issuing smart cards to residents of five village panchayats in its service area, has gone a long way in assisting the small and marginal farmers to avail themselves of jewel loans for taking up agricultural activity.

The service areas are Ennai, Easwarankovil, Kothirapatti, Kattakudi and Irunthuraipatti village panchayats which account for a total of 3,000 account holders.The branch organised a special camp at Kattakudi and issued the cards to the beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme recently.

A large number of small and medium farmers have sought agricultural loans."We have planned to start an exclusive section for sanctioning agricultural jewel loans to the farmers of these five panchayats," said R.Varatharajan, branch manager.

On an average, the daily disbursement of jewel loan for agriculture stands at Rs.3 lakh.

None of the minor has opted for the smart card in these villages.

Date:01/05/2011 URL:

http://www.thehindu.com/2011/05/01/stories/2011050154640500.htm Tea growers urged to be quality conscious The Executive Director, Tea Board, R. Ambalavanan (second right) at quality upgradation programme in Mel Kowhatty, near Udhagamandalam.

Udhagamandalam: The role of farmers in lifting the image of the Nilgiris tea was emphasised by the Executive Director, Tea Board, R. Ambalavanan, while participating in a programme to promote mechanisation in tea gardens organised by the United Planters Association of Southern India-Krishi Vigyan Kendra (UPASI-KVK) and the Tea Board at Mel-Kowhatty near here recently.

Pointing out that the quality of the end product depended to a large extent on the quality of the main input, the raw tea leaves, he said that failure to periodically prune tea bushes will result in the factories getting poor quality leaves.

It will also lead to the farmers getting low prices. Once in four years tea bushes should be pruned.

Senior Scientist, UPASI-KVK, G. Ramamoorthy said that studies had shown that pruning and quality went hand in hand.

It also helped deal with a sudden increase in the yield during the summer.

The Managing Director, Vigneshwar tea factory, B. Ramesh said that the quality consciousness at the field level will help bring about a win-win situation.

The General Manager, Paramont Tea Company, Neelavarnan said that it is the responsibility of all the stake holders to safeguard the reputation of the unique Nilgiris tea.

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