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Mancherial: Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy said that the government was giving paramount importance to the agriculture sector, which plays a vital role in the growth of a society. He along with Forest Minister toured erstwhile Adilabad district on Monday. Niranjan and Indrakaran initially took part in an awareness meeting over crops of vanakalam season among farmers in Nirmal district headquarters.

Addressing farmers, Niranjan termed farmers as a form of god. He opined that everyone would prosper if agriculture grows. He requested farmers not to go for BT cotton seeds which would leave an adverse impact on the soil and growers. He advised them to grow either cotton or soya bean in place of paddy. He urged them not to use more fertilizers and pesticides than normal.

The minister instructed officials of the agriculture department to sensitize farmers over usage of fertilizers. He said that farmers would follow the advice of the authorities. He told the agrarian community to depend on organic fertilizers and to increase fertility of the soil. He opined that farming could be profitable by raising crops that were in demand. Niranjan further advised farmers to shift to black gram crop which has many takers after rice and pigeon peas in the country. He said that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao came forward to buy paddy for the Yasangi season when the Centre refused to do so. He wanted the farmers to go for cultivation of oil palm trees as part of crop diversification.

The minister said that the government set a target to grow oil palm trees in 2.5 lakh acres this year. He stated that it was promoting the crop because it has potential of buy back. Growers can rear sheep and grow other crops once they sow the saplings, he added.

Indrakaran said that Chandrasekhar Rao realized the adage—farmer is king, while successive governments exploited the slogan for 75 years. He said that farmers were able to have sufficient irrigation facilities owing to Rao’s reengineering of irrigation projects. The minister advised farmers to focus on growing profitable crops.

The ministers later inspected an oil palm nursery in Jannaram before convening a similar meeting with the authorities of both Mancherial and Kumram Bheem Asifabad in Mancherial town. They asked the officials of the agriculture department to create awareness among alternate crops and to make agriculture profitable. Government whip Balka Suman, legislators Diwakar Rao, Chinnaiah, Konappa, zilla parishad chairpersons N Bhagyalaxmi and Kova Laxmi, MLC Dande Vittal, Collectors Bharati Hollikeri and Rahul Raj were present.

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Author: Howard Caldwell