Mayurbhanj: The Directorate of Horticulture, Mayurbhanj has decided to undertake a massive fruit sapling plantation in 2,950 hectare land under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for financial year 2022-23, reports said Friday. The drive aims to promote large-scale fruit tree plantation as part of poverty reduction strategy in rural pockets of the tribal-dominated district.
This will also give a source of livelihood to debt-ridden farmers who are reeling under crop loss due to various reasons. As part of the initiative, the administration aims to grow cashew nuts in at least 1,960 hectare, mango in 650 hectare, lemon in 50 hectare and guava in 25 hectare.
Moreover, saplings of berry, jackfruit, litchi and other varieties of fruits will be grown in 250 hectare of land. The saplings will then be provided to farmers with proper assistance under the job guarantee scheme.
Generally, poor farmers will be given priority during selection of beneficiaries and they will be encouraged to transplant at least 40-50 plants which could fetch them a handsome amount after the initial gestation period. Necessary labour and material costs will be borne through MGNREGA.
The administration also aims to help the farmers with fertilisers, manure, boundary wall construction, deep borewell and digging of ponds to ensure precision farming. As the period of fruit trees is generally three-four years, poor and marginalised farmers generally do not find horticulture plantation as a lucrative option.
So, in addition to fruit tree plantation, farmers can also grow vegetables, pulses and other seasonal fruits inside the orchards. This will help the farmers earn handsomely both from the fruit orchards as well as from the farming activities. “The aim is basically to financially empower the below poverty line (BPL) farmers and give them a fair chance to live a life of dignity,” a senior official said. “Most of the lands are either barren or infertile.
Farmers are unable to take up farming due to potential risks and uncertainties. But, the government will provide assistance to the farmers,” the official added