Agro-based industries to get assistance: Agri Minister

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Chennai, Apr 4 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam today announced in the state Assembly that the assistance provided to industries under the new industrial policy would be extended to agro-based industries.

Replying to the debate on the demand for grants for his department, he said the Agriculture Industrial Policy unveiled by the government would provide assistance to agro-based industries, besides ensuring remunerative price to agriculture produce.

The policy has been unveiled to ensure remunerative price to the produce, encourage food processing sector and export to earn foreign exchange by increasing the food processing and value addition, he said.

''Under the policy, all assistance which are provided to other industries will be extended to agro-based industries, agriculture machineries and industries manufacturing micro irrigation equipments,'' he said.

Mr Arumugam said the state's food production, which stood at 83,000 metric tonne during 2006-07, is expected to touch 100 lakh metric tonne during 2007-08 and per hectare production from 3,424 kg to 3,600 kg.

He said the System Rice Intesification Technology (SRI) was demonstrated in an extent of about 11,000 hectare last year and considering the productivity achieved by adoption of this technology, the area under SRI would be increased to 7.50 lakh hectare during 2008-09.

Mr Arumugam said the government was keen on providing quality seeds and planting materials to the farmers and greater efforts would be taken to produce and distribute hybrids of different crops to increase the productivity.

To this effect, the government had proposed to establish a separate Tamil Nadu State Seed Production Agency to strengthen all the activities related to seeds, he said.

The Minister further said the government was taking efforts to distribute Soil Health Cards to all the 80 lakh farm holdings in a phased manner.

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