An innovative scheme that combines the latest biotechnology with traditional organic farming methods will be tried out in some villages in Pondicherry to improve the income levels of the landless, small and marginal farmers. The Rs 1.5 crore project, funded by the United Nations Development Programme, will be implemented by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation of Madras. The scheme will directly benefit about 600 households in 13 villages where it is expected to raise incomes by as much as Rs 2,500 to Rs 37,500 annually.
The project seeks to evolve a combination of labour intensive practices of the farmers and frontier biotechnologies to promote ecologically sustainable development. The scheme focuses on components like biofertilisers, green manure, vermiculture and biopesticides. It also includes the promotion of mushroom farming, sericulture, hybrid vegetable seed products, flower production and acquaculture.
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