Govt plans agricultural zones to boost farm productivity

Govt plans agricultural zones to boost farm productivity

Govt plans agricultural zones to boost farm productivity
The Agriculture department is working out the modalities to set up Special Agricultural Zones (SAZ) in different parts of the state to provide greater technological and logistic support to farmers for increasing farm productivity.

Sources said the objective of the programme was to encourage farmers use the latest technology for increasing agricultural productivity by providing better facilities in the specially carved out zones.

The department is working on an action plan to fix the parameters to chalk out SAZs in various parts of the state and it is expected to be ready by end of the month.

These zones are different from Special Economic Zones (SEZ) formed for industries where trade and tax laws differ from the rest of the country to attract investment.

Sources said the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) at Bengaluru, Dharwad, Raichur and Shivamogga will be roped in while identifying the SAZs.

The department is also contemplating to provide efficient power, water supply, storage and transportation facilities for agricultural activities once the SAZs are carved out. The aim is also to increase the income of farmers by improving agricultural productivity.

To start with, pulse-growing regions in the state will be given priority while carving out SAZs. Karnataka stands sixth in the production of pulses in the country with Belagavi, Raichur, Vijayapura, Bidar, Dharwad and Chitradurga being the major pulse growing districts in the state. The state has already decided to further increase pulses production on a “mission-mode” as the year 2016 is being observed as ‘International Year of Pulses’, the officials added.

First batch by mid-June
The department is planning to carve out the first batch of SAZs by mid-June when sowing starts and at the same time is keeping its fingers crossed hoping for good monsoons this year.

Uttarakhand, in 2011, became one of the first states in the country to set up SAZs. However, the concept is a little different there. Farmers are encouraged if they come forward for cultivating species to develop high quality seeds of crops typical to hill regions like Uttarakhand.