'Explain benefits of Jatropha, Pongamia plants'

Times News Network

Hyderabad, July 19: The state government wants to encourage latge scale cultivation of Jatropha and Pongamia plants for production of bio-dielel in the state. But farmers are reportedly reluctant to make the switch and are preferring fruit bearing trees, according to agriculture minister N Raghuveera Reddy.

Addressing district collectors at a video conference of Sunday, the minister asked the collectors to motivate farmesrs. He said the district adminstration should explain the benefits that would accure to the farmer by switching over to bio-diesel plants as againgst horticulture.

He said Jatropha and Pongamia plants require 30 litres of water once in 15 days as against 100 litres for fruit bearing plants. They can survive for three years even if htere is no rain. Secondly, these plant give assured returns as the government would soon be entering into a tripartite agreement between bio-diesel processing units, farmer representatives and the government. Farmers can expect to get about Rs 6 per kg of seeds.

Reddy further said the government will provide 90 per cent subsidy on micro irrigation. He told the collectors the government's targets was to grow these plants in two lakh acres of land this year. He cautioned the district administration against possible exploitation by seed dealers.

The minister said he had personally seen a seed dealer quotiong Rs 20 per kg while the price did should not exceed Rs 2.50. "It will be rhe responsibility of the district administration to tell the farmers to buy seeds only from established government nurseries," he added. This project can generate employment potential in villages. Dwcra women and youth can be encouraged to set up bio-diesel processing units, he said.