To empower farmers and educate them on best practices in agriculture by making farming sustainable and profitable, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will take part in Rythu Kosam, an intensive tour in all the 13 districts of the state, from September 9th to 24th.
During Rythu Kosam, the Chief Minister will interact with farmers and seek feedback from them on the government’s program. This tour will include public meetings, exhibitions, workshops and cultural programs creating awareness on better agricultural practices in the state.
On the other hand, the Government of Andhra Pradesh is planning to make crop-specific interventions by making agriculture and allied activities one of the crucial growth engines for the state.
“For instance, study how banana can be used to add value apart from focusing only on Tissue Culture. Similarly, coconut too has many uses. Work on crop-specific interventions and focus on cluster-based approach,” the Chief Minister said, in a review meeting on agriculture and allied activities, today at Secretariat.
The total area in which horticulture is being carried out in the state is 16.26 lakh hectares with a total production of 255.69 metric tonnes (including fruits, vegetables, flowers, plantation crops, spices and medicinal/aromatic plants).
Focusing on the “More Crop per Drop” theme, the Chief Minister directed officials to increase micro-irrigation area in the state while simultaneously working on drought mitigation measures.
The micro-irrigation potential in the state is nearly 10 lakh hectares. The micro-irrigation target for this year, however, is set at 1 lakh hectares.
Informing the Chief Minister about the impact of drought on horticulture crops, officials said that 54,735 hectares were affected due to drought in 6 districts (including 4 Rayalaseema districts, Nellore and Prakasam) of the state.
In these districts, drought mitigation measures were taken by directing farmers to cultivate sweet lime and oranges in 11,515.58 hectares, officials told the Chief Minister.
Responding to this, the Chief Minister suggested officials to motivate community-led drip and sprinkler irrigation that will increase production of horticulture crops.
“If there is a drought, poultry, dairy and sheep-rearing should not be affected. We need to make them self-sustainable. Gradually, the department should also work on ways to enhance horticulture growth even if there is a drought,” the Chief Minister added.
He also asked officials to collect data from village level to district level, clearly indicating farmer-wise and crop-wise data in every village of the state. “I want to have end-to-end data with necessary steps that include investment, soil health, seeds distributed, fertilizers use, irrigation/water use, productivity and net income (total income –expenditure),” the Chief Minister opined.
On the sidelines, he also asked officials to explore options of increasing subsidy on protective cultivation to 70% from the current 50%. Reviewing the status of sericulture, the Chief Minister asked the department to come out with a policy that not only increases production of silk but also protects farmers and weavers.
Special Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Vijay Kumar informed the Chief Minister that the state government has begun the roll out of the organic and natural farming scheme. “Initially, 10 clusters in each district will be taken under this program to include 10 lakh farmers across the state. That apart, we will also encourage 8.5 lakh farmers to bring down chemical usage by 50%,” he added.
Ministers Prathipati Pulla Rao, Bojjala Gopala Krishna Reddy, heads of department of agriculture, horticulture, agricultural marketing department and officials from AP State Seeds Development Corporation and others were present in the meeting.