ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihood in Tamil Nadu. More than two third of rural households in the State still depend primarily on agriculture for their sustenance, with 93 percent of farmers being small and marginal.
 
The welfare and wellbeing of the State's population mainly depends either directly or indirectly on fortunes of agriculture. Moreover, the primary responsibility of the State Government is to ensure stability in agricultural 2 sector and sustainability in agricultural production of the State. 
 
             Agriculture is undergoing perceptible changes as it gets transformed from traditional to modern economy which is an important step towards economic development. The traditional uncompromising practices followed in the erstwhile years and the systematic method of cultivation impregnated with Good Agricultural Practices focusing on environment for production of food grains are gaining momentum in the modern agriculture. The State Government is promoting environment friendly sustainable agriculture and encouraging farmers to adopt such practices with an objective to meet the demands put forth by the growing population in the food segment as well as the raw materials for agro-based industries in an eco-friendly sustainable way.
 
            Government of Tamil Nadu is taking all out efforts to increase productivity and farmers’ income by adopting frontier agriculture technologies to a larger extent for various crops cultivated in Tamil  Nadu by  actively  involving  farmers and extension officers with due research backing. 
 
 The Government of Tamil Nadu is taking plethora of sound policies and revolutionary strategies to give impetus to agriculture by bringing in various agrarian reforms and crop specific, season specific, soil specific, climate specific, farm specific approaches in agriculture which is beleaguered by enigmatic weather, uncertainty in rainfall, slumping land area, plummeting water resources, deteriorating soil fertility, unrestrainable pests & diseases, 4 increased costs of critical inputs, difficulty in horizontal expanse of land resources, labor scarcity and vacillating market prices.
 
Government of Tamil Nadu has set a remarkable footprint in food grain production by achieving more than 100 Lakh Metric Tonnes since 2011-12. The technological breakthrough in increasing the productivity and the cultivable area with interventions such as integrated approach to enrich the Soil fertility; Mission on Sustainable Dryland Agriculture, System of Rice Intensification, Collective farming, Integrated Farming System, Farm mechanization; adoption of water conservation measures with Micro Irrigation; post-harvest management of crop produces, Risk Insurance, Agro information technological interventions; Organic farming, Food Processing Policy and interlinking agricultural markets through eNAM etc., have removed the impasse in agriculture production and paved way for the State to surpass 100 Lakh Metric Tonnes of Food Grain production Six times in a row during 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2017-18 5 and 2018-19 (4th advance estimate) except 2012-13 & 2016-17 being the years of severe drought. The State was conferred with “Krishi Karman award” four times (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15 & 2015-16) in a period of seven years by Government of India 
 
2. Vision, Objectives and Strategies
 
2.1.0. Vision
 
The prime focus of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University is to develop human resource for the upliftment of agriculture through quality agricultural education, enhancing the production and productivity of crops by meticulously planned agricultural research to educate and to enlighten farmers and extension officials through intensified extension education programmes.
 
            The Vision 2023 document, innumerable efforts are taken to strengthen linkages with farmers and other stake holders by facilitating Agri-business Development juxtaposed with the State and National Agricultural Policy. To enable the farmers and rural youth to adopt new technologies and develop their skills in farming and other farm related activities, many courses are offered through Open and Distance learning mode. Efforts are taken to transform agriculture into 236 a commercially viable profession and to modify production strategies based on market preference.
 
2.1.1. Objectives
 
  • Strengthen institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Ensure conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • Formulate and popularize appropriate agro climatic and eco-friendly farming systems which would improve soil
  • Health and intensify crop productivity and farm income.
  • 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.
  • To develop infrastructure facilities in sectors of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agriculture implements, extension Services, value addition and marketing across the agricultural supply chain.
 
2.1.2. Strategies
 
Increase the yield of food grain, oilseeds and commercial crops by introducing site Specific Crop management technologies.
 
·        Increase on-farm income of the farm families by bringing down the cost of critical inputs, eliminating drudgery of farm   
·        Labor, inter cultural operations, Post-harvest management etc.
·        Establishment of robust infrastructure facilities for production and distribution of critical inputs besides promoting 20
·        Intensification and diversification in agriculture.
·        Cost reduction in fertilizer application by adopting soil test based fertilizer recommendation and devising the mechanism of fertilizer distribution based on soil health card value.
·        Special thrust for dryland and summer crops targeted with proper plan to cover additional area and crop diversification.
·        Judicious utilization of available irrigation water, Integrated Nutrient Management and Integrated Crop protection measures to reduce crop loss and ensure sustainable production system in dry land area.
·       Focus on generating off-farm income opportunities to raise farmers’ income by extending assistance for setting up Farm and Value addition Machinery, Custom Hiring Centers, Dealership on micro irrigation system, Dealership for Input distribution, Kudimaramathu works, Work order for creation of Rain Water Harvesting structures, etc., to active Farmer
·        Producer Groups formed under Collective Farming.
·        Extensive campaigns for effective transfer of technology by integrating all stakeholders in agriculture.
·        Enrichment of Soil Health by adopting ecological engineering principles and farming practices.
·        Agro technological information dissemination and real time problem solving right from seed to seed by introducing “My Farm Guide” through Uzhavan app and adopting modern Information Embedded Intelligence Technological Tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) for providing instant solutions to the farm problems.
·        Encouraging the adoption of climate resilient practices, insulating the famers from income loss supported by crop insurance and formulation of crop contingency plan based on weather forecast and other measures tackling the risk due to natural calamity.
·        Fostering Integrated farming practices by integrating farming with allied sector stepping towards additional income of the farmers and also for ecological regeneration, diversification, soil health 22 improvement and increasing the per unit productivity.
·        Encouraging Good Agricultural Practices among farming community as a strategy with foresighted vision of ensuring quality in food and fodder for domestic consumption and Export.
·        Judicial usage of water, Nutrient, Plant protection Chemicals and labour for conserving energy and cost which ultimately will increase in resource & input use efficiency and bring quality produces.
·        A Comprehensive Input Supply and Management System ensuring quality of critical inputs besides improving the delivery mechanism.
·        Empowerment of Women farmers by extending handholding support in farming and allied activities.
·        Improving marketing efficiency by reducing the price spread between producer and consumer/export prices of agricultural produce.
·        Creation of water harvesting structures like Percolation ponds, farm ponds, community ponds, check dams, Village ponds for ground water recharge and crop production.
·        Providing extension and advisory services on real time basis to farmers and other stakeholders by using Information and
·        Communication Technology for optimizing their productivity and income.
·        Linking farmers with Markets can be either “top down” in which sources of demand seek a group of farmers to fulfill that demand, or “bottom up” in which groups of farmers are integrated to seek sources for supply through value addition of Agriculture produce.
 
 
        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
 
SI.
No
Agro Climatic Zones
Districts Covered
Soil Type
1
North Eastern Zone
Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Vellore, Villupuram and Tirunvannamalai
1. Red Sandy Loam
2. Clay Loam
3. Saline coastal Alluvium
2
North Western Zone
Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem and Namakkal (Part)
1. Non Calcareous Red
2. Non Calcareous Brown 3. Calcareous Black
3
Western Zone
Erode, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Theni, Karur (part), Namakkal (part), Dindigul, Perambalur and Ariyalur (part)
1. Red Loamy 2. Black
4
Cauvery Delta Zone
Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Trichy and parts of - Karur, Ariyalur, Pudukkottai and Cuddalore
1. Red Loamy 2.Alluvium
5
Southern Zone
Madurai, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi
1. Coastal Alluvium
2. Black
3. Red Sandy soil
4. Deep red soil
6
High Rainfall Zone
Kanyakumari
1. Saline Coastal
2. Alluvium
3. Deep Red Loam
7
Hilly Zone
The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal (Dindigul)
Lateritic
Source: Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops, GoTN
 
Agriculture Scenario in Tamil Nadu
 
          Tamil Nadu is geographically located between 8°5' and 13°35' North latitude and between 76°14’ and 80°21' East longitude. Tamil Nadu falls in semi-arid to dry sub humid climate. This geographical position supports higher crop productivity under irrigation.
 
           The total geographical area of Tamil Nadu is 130.33 Lakh Ha which constitutes 4 percent of the Nation’s geographical area (10th Largest State) with coastal line of 1,076 km. Tamil Nadu is one of the most water starved States endowed with only 3 per cent of the Nation's water resources putting high stress on irrigation water availability and vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations causing uncertainty in Agriculture production.  However, the Tamil Nadu Government with its proactive policies and strategic implementation of schemes overwhelmed these challenges and paved the way for continued increase of food grains.
 
The Tamil Nadu land use pattern as per the latest statistical report (2017-18) 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 (*)
43.47
33.35
3
Area under Misc. Tree crops
2.32
1.78
4
Permanent Pastures
1.08
0.83
5
Current fallow
13.61
10.44
6
Other fallow
18.47
14.17
7
Culturable Waste
3.23
2.48
8
Land put to non-agricultural use
22.01
16.89
9
Barren and unculturable land
4.58
3.51
Total Geographical Area
Cropping Intensity (%)
130.33
100.00
118
-
 Source: Department of Agriculture.
 
           Tamil Nadu is the sixth most populous State with 6 percent of the Nation’s population (2011 Census). According to the 10th Agriculture Census 2015-16 (Provisional), the number of operational land holders in the State is 79.38 Lakh, Operating cultivable land 8 of 59.73 Lakh Hectare. Small and Marginal holders account for 93% of the total holdings operating 62% of the area occupied. The remaining 38% of the total Land holdings are occupied by 7% of medium and big farmers. The average size of the land holding in the State is 0.75 hectare which is less than the average size of land holding of the country (1.08 Hectare). The State's average annual rainfall 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 capital availability of water is 750 cubic meters per year as compared to the all India average of 2,200 cubic meters. The details of net area irrigated using various sources of irrigation across the Stat   (2017-18) are as follows:
 
2: Water Source wise net area irrigated
 
Source
 
Availability (Nos)
 
Net Irrigated Area (Lakh Ha.)
 
% wrt to Net Area Irrigated
Canals
2,244
5.89
22.10
Tanks
41,120
3.58
12.66
Wells
18,70,841
16.77
65.16
Others
Total
0.02
0.08
26.26
100.00
 
The area irrigated by wells and bore wells accounted for 64% followed by Canals (22%) and Tanks (14%).
  
 Table 1.3: Productivity Position of Tamil Nadu at National Level 
 
 
 
National Level Crop
 
Position of Tamil Nadu at National Level
 
Yield in Tamil Nadu (Kg/ha)
 
All India Average Yield (Kg/ha)
Maize
1
6,549
2,509
Cumbu
1
2,613
1,154
Groundnut
1
2,509
1,486
Total Oilseeds
1
2,230
968
Cotton
5
442
432
Coconut
2
9,238
6,721
Rice
2
3,918
2,404
Sugarcane(MT)
3
103
71
Sunflower
4
1,089
697
Jowar
3
1,558
780
Coarse cereals
2
3,759
1,596
Food grains
3
3,090
2,056
Total Pulses
8(*)
689
744
Total Geographical Area
Cropping Intensity (%)
130.33
100.00
118
-
 
Source: Department of Agriculture, Policy note 2018-19
 
 
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 agro technology 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, fiber 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, rain fed 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 13.35’ 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 origins (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:
 
SI.
NO
Agro Climatic Zones
Soil Type
1
North Eastern Zone
1. Red Sandy Loam 2. Clay Loam 3. Saline coastal Alluvium
2
North Western Zone
1. Non Calcareous Red 2. Non Calcareous Brown 3. Calcareous Black
3
Western Zone
1. Red Loamy 2. Black
4
Cauvery Delta Zone
1. Red Loamy 2.Alluvium
5
Southern Zone
1. Coastal Alluvium 2. Black 3. Red Sandy soil 4. Deep red soil
6
High Rainfall Zone
1. Saline Coastal 2. Alluvium 3. Deep Red Loam
7
Hilly Zone
Lateritic
 
Source: TNAU Agritech portal, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore
 
 
Map Source: Input data from TNAU Agritech Portal
 
 
 
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
Nagapattinam
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Panchayathu union Complex
Nagapattinam – 611 001
Thiruvannamalai
Senior Agricultural Officer
Soil Testing Laboratory
Kottam Playam Road
Venkikal, Thiruvannamalai – 606 604
 
Source:TNAU Agritech Portal, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore
 
 
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