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| Last Updated:: 21/11/2017

Agriculture


AGRICULTURE 

Farmers are the linch-pin of the whole world; As they feed even those not in the field” – Thirukural (1032)
1.      Introduction
Agriculture is socially, economically and culturally entwined with the lives of people of Tamil Nadu. Agriculture cannot be easily dispensed with as it is the key component of economic growth and development. Agriculture is undergoing perceptible changes as it gets transformed from a traditional to modern economy which is an important step towards economic development. The role of Agriculture in economic development cannot be belittled as it was the real factor to cause dynamism in Green Revolution during the 1960s, which revealed the contribution of the agriculture sector in holistic economic development.
 
 
 
 
 
Agriculture is the prime driving force for food security, rural economy and sustainable socio-economic development of farmers. Agriculture, as a productive sector provides a pathway out of poverty and has an important macro-economic role upon which diverse economies are built. A faster growing agriculture sector alone can increase the agricultural production, raise the per-capita income of the rural community, generate consumer demand driven commodity surplus to promote various agro-processing industries, create avenues for localized employment, slowing down migration towards urban areas, create domestic demand for industrial goods and services and increase exports.
 
Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest livelihood provider particularly in rural areas. However, Agriculture faces the dual challenge of becoming more environmentally sustainable while ensuring food security at the same time. Agriculture and food production systems are increasingly vulnerable to burgeoning population, climate variability, environmental degradation, dwindling production resources, rising input costs, labour scarcity and volatile market prices. Government of Tamil Nadu to tide over these challenges has set smart short term to long term Sustainable Development Goals to attain the ambitious plan of making Agriculture a vibrant growth engine to achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2023 A.D.
 
Government of Tamil Nadu to achieve its vision of Second Green Revolution in the State has infused a comprehensive policy framework by reinforcing 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; mechanising 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 permeating agriculture even in the most challenged topography.
 
2. Vision, Objectives and Strategies
2.1.0. Vision
Agriculture sector is the fulcrum of rural economy and remains as the main occupation and source of livelihood for the rural people. Agriculture, as a driver of economic prosperity, has to be leveraged with the power of technology and innovation to overcome conservative challenges for a progressive inclusive growth in agriculture. In the recent years, Government of Tamil Nadu has pioneered in multifarious strategies and technologies spearheading an innovation driven transformation in agriculture. Such initiatives broke ground for mightier growth in productivity and production of food grains and other crops which helped Tamil Nadu to hold excellent track record of performance. Agriculture Department, to achieve the twin goals of doubling the production and tripling the farmers‟ income through multidimensional agricultural development, has made impressive changes in the Agriculture Policy by addressing the challenges of natural resource depletion, ecosystem degradation, climate change and natural disasters. Tamil Nadu Vision 2023, contemplates to make Tamil Nadu “Numero Uno” State in all fronts, especially in Agriculture and secure the benefits of rapid economic growth for all its farmers making Tamil Nadu one among India‟s most economically prosperous and progressive States.
 
Government of Tamil Nadu, which is on the anvil of developing agriculture at farm level, has framed the following objectives and strategies to step up the momentum towards Second Green Revolution.
2.1.1. Objectives
v Strengthen institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation.
v Ensure conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
v Formulate and popularize appropriate agroclimatic and eco-friendly farming systems which would improve soil health and intensify crop productivity and farm income.
v Increase the income of farmers through agricultural diversification towards high value farming, while retaining the core-competence in area of food crops and nutritional security.
v To develop infrastructure facilities in sectors of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agriculture implements, extension services, value addition and marketing across the agricultural supply chain.
v Facilitate adaptation and mitigation to climate change through effective im-plementation of prescribed framework.
 
2..1.2. Strategies
 
v Increasing the area under cultivation by bringing fallow lands under cultivation and reclaiming the problematic soils.
v Increasing agricultural production and productivity by improving soil health and input use efficiency.
v Devising ecology-cum-economics based crop-cafeteria in both irrigated and rainfed regions from which even resource  poor farmers can choose the crop combination and adopt modern crop husbandry which is best suited to realize the full growth potential of the farm.
v Ensuring timely availability of quality inputs such as seeds / planting materials, fertilizers, bio-fertilizers, biocides / bioagents, agriculture machinery etc.                                                          
v Reducing cost of cultivation by better crop management, popularizing cost effective indigenous inputs, enhancing input use efficiency, adopting location specific innovative technologies, educating the farmers on good agricultural practices and mechanising the farming operations.                                                                                                                                                  
v  Promoting utilization of non-conventional energy resources.
v Ensuring participation of private sector in agriculture.
v Promoting agro based infrastructure in rural areas.
v Reducing dependency on monsoons with better irrigation / water harvesting and harnessing methods.
v Developing climate - resilient cropping system with inbuilt protective measures such as crop insurance besides generating alternate sources of livelihood through allied activities to mitigate risk.
v Transferring the evolved technologies and best practices through ICT tools to narrow down the yield gap and promote farmer empowerment.
3. Agro climatic regions of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Government that leaves no stone unturned for uplifting the economic status of farmers has conceived agriculture –demand led –industrialization strategy to increase the agricultural productivity so as to expand the internal demand for intermediate and consumer goods which would generate higher income for the farmers. Tamil Nadu State has been classified into seven distinct agro-climatic zones based on rainfall distribution, irrigation pattern, soil characteristics, cropping pattern and other physical, ecological and social characteristics including administrative divisions. 
 Agro climatic regions of Tamil Nadu
 
 
Sl.
 
No
 
Agroclimatic Zone
 
Districts
 
Soil Types
1
North Eastern Zone
Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai
Red sandy loam, clay loam, saline coastal-alluvium
2
Northern Western Zone
Dharmapuri, Salem and Namakkal
Non-Calcareousred, non-calcareous brown,calcareous black

 

3
Western Zone
Erode, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Karur, Namakkal, Dindigul and Theni
Red loam, black
4
Cauvery Delta Zone
Trichy, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Part of Cuddalore
Red loam, alluvium
5
South Zone
Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi
Coastal alluvium, black, red sandy soil, deep red soil.
6
Hugh Rainfall Zone
Kanyakumari
Saline coastal alluvium, deep red Loam
7
Hill Zone
The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal (Dindigul)
 Eritic
 Source: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
 
4. SNAPSHOTS OF TAMIL NADU AGRICULTURE
 
Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest State in India by area and the seventh most populous state with 6 percent of the nation‟s population. The total geographical area of Tamil Nadu is 130.33 Lakh Hectare (4 per cent of the nation‟s 12 geographical area).Tamil Nadu being a coastal state (coastal line of 1076 km) is highly vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations causing uncertainty in Agriculture production. Tamil Nadu is one of the most water starved states endowed only with 3 per cent of the nation's water resources putting high stress on irrigation water availability. The Tamil Nadu land use pattern as per the latest statistical report (2015-16) is given below:
Table 1.1: Land Use Pattern
S. No
 
Details
Area (L.ha)
% wrt to Geographical area
1
Forest
21.57
16.55
2
Net Cropped Area (*)
48.33
37.08
3
Area under Misc. Tree crops
2.34
1.79
4
Permanent Pastures
1.08
0.83
5
Current fallow
9.89
7.59
6
Other fallow
17.29
13.27
7
Culturable Waste
3.24
2.49
8
Land put to non agricultural use
22.01
16.89
9
Barren and unculturable land
4.58
3.51
Total Geographical Area
130.33
100.00
Cropping Intensity (%)
126
-
 
            Tamil Nadu being a lower riparian State has to depend on water release from neighbouring states to a large extent. With distinct periods of rainfall and distribution pattern, Tamil Nadu is entirely dependent on monsoon rains for recharging its water resources and thereby, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought. As the State lies in the rain shadow region of Western Ghats, it is deprived of rains during South West Monsoon season which is the assured monsoon for the rest of the Country. Moreover, the spatial and temporal changes in rainfall distribution add woes to the cropping pattern in the State. The average annual rainfall of the State is around 921 mm which is less than the National average of 1,200 mm. The quantum of rainfall received during Winter (January - February), Summer (March - May), South-West Monsoon (June – September) and North-East Monsoon (October - December) is 3%, 14%, 35% and 48% respectively. The per capita availability of water is 750 cubic meters per year as compared to the all India average of 2,200 cubic meters. Out of the Gross Cropped Area of 60.74 Lakh Hectare, the land suitable for irrigated agriculture is around 35.75 Lakh Hectare of which 80% is brought under food crops and 20% under non-food crops. The details of net area irrigated using various sources of irrigation across the state are as follows:   
 
2: Water Source wise net area irrigated
 
Source
 
Availability (Nos)
 
Net Irrigated Area (Lakh Ha.)
 
% wrt to Net Area Irrigated
Canals
2,239
6.72
23.72
Tanks
41,127
4.38
15.45
Wells
18,69,723
17.20
60.72
Others
0.03
0.11
Total
28.33
100.00
 
            Tamil Nadu, a farmer-friendly state has set one of the best platforms for agricultural development by introducing innovative agricultural technologies to re-invent Green Revolution for the second time in the state. Further, the Government has formulated and implemented policies and schemes to achieve a consistent and rapid growth at an accelerated pace.
 
 Table 1.3: Productivity Position of Tamil Nadu at
National Level Crop
Position of Tamil Nadu at National Level
Yield in Tamil Nadu (Kg/ha)
All India Average Yield (Kg/ha)
Maize
1
5,360
2,557
Cumbu
1
2,881
1,272
Groundnut
1
2,699
1,400
Total Oilseeds
1
2,294
1,037
Cotton
1
718
461
Coconut
2
10,236
7,164
Rice
2
3,191
2,390
Sugarcane(MT)
3
93
70
Sunflower
3
1,625
753
Jowar
3
1,485
953
Coarse cereals
4
3,066
1,729
Food grains
5
2,529
2,070
Total Pulses
8(*)
689
744
 
 
Soil Resources 
SOIL RESOURCES IN TAMIL NADU
 
             The earth needs to be nurtured with a mother’s care because, Earth gives everything for sustaining life. Soils that form one of the most precious natural resources of earth. For sustainable agricultural production, it is necessary to focus attention on the soil and the climate resource base, current status of soil degradation and soil-based agrotechnology for optimizing land use. India lives in villages and agriculture forms the backbone of the Country’s economy. Soil is the natural and a vital resource for growing food, fibre and firewood to meet the human needs.  The soils are highly vulnerable to degradation and nature takes very long period (say 300 – 1000 years) to form an inch of the top soil mainly due to the combined effects of climate, vegetation, organisms, relief and time on the rocks and parent material.  Soil is a life supporting system upon which human beings have been dependent from the dawn of the civilization. 
            The soil performs many functions such as media for biomass production, filtering and buffering, a habitat and gene reservoir, a source of raw materials, a substrate for buildings, roads and other structures and as an archaeological artifact.  Impairment in any function of soils reduces their quality, value and capacity to provide the basic necessities to support ecosystems. Hence, comprehensive information on soil resources in terms of types of soils, their spatial distribution, extent, their limitations viz., erosion, salinization / alkalization, water logging etc., and their potential / capabilities, is required for a variety of purposes such as command area development, soil conservation in catchment areas, rainfed farming, watershed management and reclamation of degraded lands. Such information also plays an important role in non-agricultural sectors like, construction of roadways, railways, dams and engineering structures, etc.  Management of soil resources is essential for continued agricultural productivity and protection of the environment.
 
 
        Tamil Nadu is the Southernmost state of India. It is located between 8.05’ and 13.34’ North latitudes and 76.14’ and 80.21 East longitudes. It covers an area of about 13 Mha and accounts for about 4 per cent of the total geographical area of the country. The Tamil Nadu State forms part of the peninsular shield and composed of geologically ancient rock of diverse orgins (i.e different soils). About three – fourth of the area of the state is unclassified crystalline rocks of Archaeon age and the rest is sedimentary rocks.
 
        The State can broadly be divided into three major physiographic divisions and 10 land forms. The climate is Semi-arid in the plains and humid to Sub-humid in the hills with annual rainfall from 750 mm in some parts of the plains to over 2400 mm in the high hills. In all 94 soil families, classified into six orders. Soil depth is not a limiting factor for crop growth in Tamil Nadu (14% shallow and very shallow soils of a TGA of the state). The texture of soils of Tamil Nadu covers a wide range from sand to clay (18% sandy surface 53% loamy and 22% clay).  The soil drainage is not a major problem for crop production in the state (14% poorly to imperfectly drained soils, 64% moderately drained to well drained soil and 15% of TGA excessively drained soils).
        The soil calcareousness affects 34 per cent of the area in the Tamil Nadu State. Regarding Land Capability classification in Tamil Nadu, 79 per cent of the area is suitable for cultivation and 21 per cent of the area is not suitable for cultivations. Of the lands suited for cultivation, good land (class II) covers about 34 per cent, moderately good land (class III) covers about 30 per cent and fairly good land (class IV) covers an out of 15 per cent of the area of the state. 
 
TYPES OF SOIL IN DIFFERENT AGROCLIMATIC ZONES
 
 
 
Sl.
 
 
No
 
 
Agroclimatic Zone
 
 
Districts
 
 
Soil Types
1
North Eastern Zone
Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai
Red sandy loam, clay loam, saline coastal-alluvium
2
Northern Western Zone
Dharmapuri, Salem and Namakkal
Non-Calcareousred, non-calcareous brown,calcareous black
3
Western Zone
Erode, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Karur, Namakkal, Dindigul and Theni
Red loam, black
4
Cauvery Delta Zone
Trichy, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Part of Cuddalore
Red loam, alluvium
5
South Zone
Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi
Coastal alluvium, black, red sandy soil, deep red soil.
6
Hugh Rainfall Zone
Kanyakumari
Saline coastal alluvium, deep red loam
7
Hill Zone
The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal (Dindigul)
Lateritic
Source: TNAU Agritech portal , Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore
 
 Soil Testing Labs in Tamil Nadu
SOIL TESTING LABS IN TAMIL NADU
 
 
Place
 
 
Address
Cuddalore
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Sugarcane Research Station Campus 
Semandalam, Cuddalore – 607 001
Kanchipuram
Senior Agricultural Officer
STL, Panchupettai
Kanchipuram -631 502
Vellore
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Gudiyatham TK
Melalathu 638 806, Vellore Dt
Dharmapuri
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Taluk office Compound
Dharmapuri – 638 702
Salem
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
35/37, B 11 Cross Rajaram Nagar
Near vaniyakala kalyana mandapam
Salem – 636 007
Coimbatore
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Lawley Road, GCT (Post)
Coimbatore – 642 013
Pudukkottai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Kudumianmalai – 622104
Pudukottai Dt.
Erode
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
41/74 Pongundranar Street
Karungalpalayam, Erode – 638 003
Trichy
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Kajamalai, Trichy – 620 020
Madurai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
52/North cithirai Street
Madurai -625 001
 
Aduthurai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Aduthurai – 612101
Thanjavur Dt.
Theni
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
136/2, Second street,
Sadayal Nagar
Bangalamedu (south  side)
Theni – 625 531, Theni Dt
 Dindigul
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
3,  Co-operative colony
Dindigul – 624 001
Sivagangai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Office of the Asst.Director of Agriculture Complex
(TNSTC Branch – Near)
Thondi Road, Sivagangai – 630 561 
 Paramakudi
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Paramakudi – 623 707
Ramanathapuram Dt.
Thirunelveli
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Flat No.37, Sankar colony
Playankottai, Thirunelveli -2
Thoothukudi
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Sathur Road, Kovilpatty – 628 501
Thoothukudi Dt.
Nagarkoil
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
20c, Sundarajan compound
Esaki Amman Kovil street
Nagarkoil – 629 001
Ooty
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Ooty – 643 001 
 
Namakkal
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
142 –H, Kishore complex
(HDFC Bank opp), Salem Main Road
Namakkal – 637 001
Thiruvarur
Regulated market complex
ADA office upstair
Thiruvarur – 610 001
Thiruvallur
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Kakkalur, Thiruvallur to Avadi Road
Thiruvallur – 602 003
Perambalur
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
93F/21A Venkatajalapathi Nagar
Near New Bus Station
Perambalur – 621 210
Krishnagiri
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Office of the Assistant Director of Agriculture
Near Ragupathy Hospital
Krishnagiri – 635 001 
Virudunagar
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Near Joint Director of Agriculture office
Collectorate Complex
Virudunagar – 626 001
Karur
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Thillai nagar, Rajnoor
Thanthoni, Karur – 639 003
Ariyalur
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Valajanagaram, Ariyalur – 621 704
 Nagapattinam
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Panchayathu union Complex
Nagapattinam – 611 001
 
Villupuram
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Joint Director of Agriculture office
Collectorate Master plan complex
Villupuram – 605 602
Thiruvannamalai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Kottam Playam Road
Venkikal, Thiruvannamalai – 606 604
             Source: TNAU Agritech portal , Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore                
 
 
Sources:
1.      Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore