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Odisha launches special crop specific scheme to promote betel leaf cultivation

BHUBANESHWAR: Farmers interested in setting up betel vines in Odisha will now get financial assistance from the State government under the special crop specific scheme launched to promote betel leaf cultivation. They will be provided at least 50 per cent of the first year’s establishment cost.

Each farmer developing a betel vine in an area of 10 decimal will get an assistance of Rs 40,000 under the scheme. The aid includes the cost of training of around Rs 3,000.

With a budgetary provision of Rs one crore, the scheme laid out under the State plan envisages doubling the income of betel farmers and encourage farmers to adopt betel leaf as a cash crop in nine districts.

As many as 250 selected farmers from Khurda, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Jagatsinglpur, Jajpur, Puri, Ganjam, Chhatrapur and Kendrapada will be provided assistance this year.

Consumption of betel leaf is a traditional and wide spread practice in the State as a great deal of medicinal value is attributed to the leaf. Though cultivated since time immemorial, betel leaf crop assumed significant commercial importance nearly three decades ago.

Betel vine cultivation is highly labour intensive and particularly suited to small holdings. Once established, a betel vine becomes a perennial source of employment and income for farmers to meet their daily requirements.

Joint director of horticulture department, Ramesh Das, said farmers are encouraged to go for cash crops like betel vine where they have conducive  climatic conditions.

“Since a farmer has to incur a huge expenditure during its initial establishment, we have decided to provide 50 per cent of the cost as assistance,” he said.

Besides home consumption, betel leaves from Odisha are exported to different cities including Varanasi, Mumbai and Kolkata. While the betel leaf trade in the State is estimated at around Rs 100 crore, popular betel leaf brands like Chandanpuri, Mohanpuri and Barakuli are much in demand in Singapore, Pakistan and other countries.

Similarly, a provision has been made to provide Rs 24,000 for one hectare area to promote coconut cultivation. A subsidy of Rs 3,000 has also been extended for single line trailing of vegetable crops in an area of 10 decimal against the estimated expenditure of Rs 4,000.

Source: The New Indian Express

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