January 27, 2018
Coimbatore:A separate food processing and contract farming policy will be in place in the State in two months, according to Principal Secretary and Commissioner TN Agriculture Marketing and Agri Business SJ Chiru.
The policies were drafted to provide a win-win situation to those in the field, particularly farmers, and was waiting for approval. It was likely to be in place in another two months, Chiru said during his address at the two-day coconut festival which began here today.
Though the Government had allowed neera tapping, there are some obstacles like fermentations issues and efforts were on to come out with a neera policy too. Laying stress on value-addition in the coconut sector, Chiru sought the co-operation of industrialists and scientists with their technologies for uplift of farmers as the Government wanted to double the productivity and triple their income.
Coir Board chairman CP Radhakrishnan assured all possible help, by talking to the Centre since it was related to board activities.Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Dr K. Ramasamy said the big question was whether farmers had benefitted due to the enhanced productivity and value-addition.
The budgetary allocation for the agriculture had come down and the subsidy in future was in doubt he said.Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology director Dr C Ananthakrishnan said the institute, which had successfully taken the issue of onion when farmers were in distress due to low prices, had taken up coconut for this year.
ICAR Centre Plantation Crop Research Institute Director Dr P Chowdappa said India’s value addition in coconut was just 8 per cent compared to over 60 in other countries and should be increased to at least 25 per cent to enhance grower income.
The festival, organised by CII, had the central theme `Farm to Fridge and Beyond: More nuts per tree, more value per nut, convener S Sethilnathan said. With vast potential, the coconut sector could generate a business of Rs 30,000 crore by value-addition and other means and also generate an employment of 70 lakh, he added.