Coimbatore, June 25 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam today said the state government planned to invest Rs 925 crore in cooperative sugar mills to help them generate power and produce ethanol to ensure they became profitable.
Delivering his address at the ''Farmers Day-2008'' at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) here, he said 17 cooperative sugar had suffered losses to the tune of Rs 300 crore. Once they started power generation and ethanol production, they would turn profitable.
The power plants could generate power from coal if bagasse was not available.
The farmer-friendly DMK Government also proposed to buy Rs 25 crore worth sugarcane harvesting equipment from China to be given to the cooperative sugar mills.
Dismissing reports on fertilizer shortage, the Minister said Tamil Nadu had imported Rs 30 crore worth DAP through the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Agricultural Marketing Federation (TANFED).
The government also planned to import an additional Rs 50 crore worth fertilizer soon through TANFED.
Lauding the TNAU, he said the university had developed 408 new crop varieties, 115 types of farm equipment and 42 management technologies so far.
The state had fixed a target of 108 lakh metric tonne Foodgrain production during the current year from 42 lakh hectare of land. Due to hard work of the university scientists, the productivity of some of the food crops had doubled.
Mr Arumugam said the farm equipment production units would be declared an industry by the government to enable them get all the benefits.
The government had allocated Rs 40 crore to pay 50 per cent of the premium on crop insurance which would benefit the farmers.
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