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  Stock Taking  
Prakasam District, AP  
Pudukkottai, TN  
  Supply and Demand  
Enterprise Groups  
Stock Taking Report


Pudukkottai district is bound on the North and North West by Trichirapalli district, Sivagangai district on the West and South West, on the East and North East by Thanjavur district and on the South East by Bay of Bengal. The district is formed in January 1974 out of certain pockets of the then Trichy and Thanjavur districts, has an area of 4663 sq.km with a coastal line of 39 km.
Table 8. Demographic details (Pudukkottai)



(in number)


a. Total
b. Rural
c. Urban
d. Male
e. Female
f. SC Total
g. ST Total



Intensity of population per Sq.Km



Percentage of S.C. Population



Percentage of S.T.Population



Percentage of literacy



Percentage of Agricultural labourers



Total Cultivators



Agricultural labourers



BPL families


Pudukkottai district is divided into two revenue divisions with 9 taluks. There are 7 Agricultural Divisions which is headed by the respective Assistant Director of Agriculture and 13 blocks headed by Agricultural Development Officer. Moreover, there are two municipalities and 8 town panchayats covering 757 revenue villages and 498 village panchayats.

The average rainfall of the district is 920 mm per year. The frequency of rainfall is also uncertain. Even though the district has more number of tanks, most of the tanks are silted in nature. So the water holding capacity of the tanks is very poor. This often leads to water scarcity for irrigation during the critical stages of the crop, especially during maturity. The major crops of Pudukkottai district are Paddy, Groundnut, Cashew, Sugarcane, Pulses, Fruits, Coconut and Gingelly.

Table 9. Land utilisation pattern-Pudukkottai



Area in Hectares


Total Geographical Area






Barren and unculturable lands



Land put to non-agricultural uses



Culturable Waste



Permanent pastures and other grazing land



Miscellaneous tree crops and groves not included in net area sown



Current Fallow



Other fallow lands



Net Area sown



Area sown more than once



Gross area sown


Table 10. Cropping pattern in Pudukkottai (2005-06)



Existing cropping Pattern





Cauvery-Mettur Project
Wet lands
June to September, October
September to January
October to January

Other Areas
Single Crop Wet land September to January





 II. Garden land
July to September
October to January
February to May




July to October
October to February
March to June



July to November
November to February
April to July



July to October
October to February
February to June



January, February to October, November




III. Dry Land
June to October

October to December



Table 11. Area under Major Crops (2006-07)



Area in Hectares








Pearl Millet


















Groundnut (Rainfed)








Organisations implementing rural development programmes

Several organisations implement programmes to uplift the rural population.

Table 12. Organisations and major programmes.

Sl No

Name of the Organisation

Major programmes


Department of Agriculture,

  • Intensive cotton development programme,
  • Integrated Scheme on Pulses, Oilseeds and Maize, on   farm demonstrations (ISOPOM), Soil health Programmes.


  • IAMWARM: (Irrigation Agriculture Modernisation and Water bodies Restoration Management Project) funded by World Bank.
  • TANWABE (Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture, Business and Extension)


Department of Horticulture

  • Integrated Horticultural Developmental Scheme.


  • Micro irrigation scheme –Installation of Drip and Sprinkler systems fro Horticultural crops.


Department of Animal Husbandry

  • ASCAD-Assistance to State for control of Animal diseases.
  • KPT-Kalnadai Pathukappu Thittam (Cattle Protection Programme)


Department of Sericulture

  • Catalytic Development Programme (CDP)- mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing, promotion of setting up cocoon reeling units etc


Department of Fisheries

  • Special SGSY particularly for Tsunami affected
  • National Savings cum Relief Scheme for fisherwomen
  • Freshwater Prawn farming, fisherman folk training


Department of forestry

  • Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project
  • Community Forest Development Scheme
  • Part II Wind and Shelter belts
  • Raising Jatropha Plantation
  • Forest Development Agency
  • SGRY- Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana- (raising of tree  saplings)
  • SGRY-Babul Plantation raising
  • SGRY-Rain water harvesting scheme
  • Emergency Tsunami rehabilitation project


Agricultural Engineering

  • Agricultural Mechanisation Programme
  • Reclamation of Alkali Soil.
  • Replacement of old Agricultural Pump sets
  • Rainwater harvesting and run off management programme under soil conservation scheme
  • Command Area Development Programme
  • Land Development Scheme


 IAMWARM (Irrigation Agriculture Modernisation and Water bodies Restoration Management Project)

IAMWARM Project funded by the World Bank, aims to improve the service delivery for selected sub-basins and productivity of irrigated agriculture with effective integrated water resource management in a river basin/sub-basin frame work in Tamil Nadu.


  • Improving irrigation service delivery including adoption of modern water saving irrigation techniques like micro irrigation and agricultural practices.
  • Agricultural Intensification and diversification
  • Enhancing market access and Agri business opportunities
  • Strengthening institutions and instruments dealing with water resource management.

In Agriculture Department this project is implemented in 63 sub-basins of Tamil Nadu with an estimated cost of Rs. 66 crores over a period of six years. (2007-2013). During 2007-2008, nine sub-basins-Palar (Coimbatore/Erode), Aliyar (Coimbatore), Varaganadhi (Villupuram), Arjunanadhi (Virudhunagar),Uppervellar (Salem), South vellar (Pudukkottai), Pambar (Pudukkottai), Kottakkarayar (Sivagangai), Manimuthar (Sivagangai) have been selected for project implementation at a cost of Rs. 4.52 crores. The project will be implemented in the above nine sub basins at a cost of Rs. 20.32 in six years from 2007-2013. The main objective of the programme is to improve the water storage and its preservation. In Tamil Nadu, out of the 63 sub divisions, in the first year only 9subdivision will be taken care of by integrating the line Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Agriculture Engineering, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries along with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Out of the total funds allocated, 90% of the funds will go to the Public Works Department for desiltation of tanks, strengthening of canals etc; remaining 10% to improve the status of the farming community by integrating all the Departments such as agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, engineering, animal husbandry, agricultural marketing etc and the technological input from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). At present walk through surveys are being carried out to study the state of art based on the needs and formulation of action plans will be carried out.

In Pudukkottai district presently two sub basins will be concentrated, covering 316 tanks in 116 villages. Rs. 1.2 crores for agriculture is being sanctioned. In all the programmes, 10% beneficiaries will be women. For implementation of farmwomen specific programmes, women should have ownership rights on lands, which is not often in their names (traditionally title deeds have only husband’s name).

Farmers Training Centre (FTC)

FTC is under the Department of Agriculture. It conducts the following activities

  • Conduct training in collaboration with line Departments on latest technologies. 10 training should be conducted every year and each batch to have 16 trainees. Participants get Rs. 20/- per day as stipend, which is very inadequate. Rs. 20 per member per day is being given as inputs for carrying out the demonstrations. The main problem in FTC is insufficiency of fund position. At present there is vacancy for the posts of Deputy Director, One Scientist and one Office Assistant.
  • Organising educational tours-yearly one tour to selected research stations-Rs. 2000/- is the maximum permissible limit for expenditure for exposure visits, which is very inadequate and so the additional charges have to be borne by the participants.
  • Organising farmer’s day (annual)-Farmers bring specimens for exhibition. This acts as a forum for discussions between farmers and scientists.
  • Supporting Farmer Discussion Groups. There are 300 farmers discussion groups out of which 156 are men and 144 are women. But only 100 FDGs are viable. There is one convener for one FDG. Best conveners of farmer discussion groups will get prize (1 radio) In each FDG, there will be 25 members, 55O members of FDGs should be trained per in the FTC. The FTCs are involved in the formation of Farmers Discussion Groups (FDGs).
  • Demonstrations - 154 demonstrations have to be organised per year
  • Trainings - 10 trainings have to be conducted (16 trainees per batch)

A total amount of Rs. 47,000 is sanctioned by the state government which is insufficient for all training and demonstration. Lack of adequate funds and dearth of staff are the major constraints faced by the FTC.

Programmes for rural women


ATMA was formed at the district level in the year 2005-2006 with the major objective of converging the activities of line Departments. The introduction of ATMA in Pudukkottai district is expected to ensure sustainable livelihood farming activities in small and marginal farmers’ holdings through extension reforms.

A Block Technology Team (BTT) is constituted at every block level (comprising block level officials of line Departments) and a Farmers Information Advisory Committee (FIAC) is also constituted at the Block level. (Pudukkottai has 13 BTTs and 13 FIACs). Though ATMA was formally initiated during 2005-2006, funds were released only in October, 2007. One week training on the basic details of ATMA and SREP guidelines for the preparation of SREP was conducted by MANAGE, Hyderabad at TNAU, Coimbatore. Six officers from various line Departments of the district viz., KVK, Zonal Research Centre, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture, Agricultural Engineering and Sericulture attended the training and they were trained on participatory methods of data collection on farming system analysis, farming situation based extension, SWOT analysis through PRA methods. For the year 2006-07, the amount available for funding through ATMA is Rs. 20.07 lakhs.

Table 13. Activities proposed through ATMA, Pudukkottai (2006-07)

Sl No


Target for the year (2006-07)


Farmer Oriented Activities


Financial (in lakh Rs)


Developing SREPs (numbers)




Training of Farmers

  1. At district Level

No.of Trainings
No.of Participants








  1. At Village level

No.of Trainings
No.of Participants







Organising Demonstrations
No.of Demonstrations
Allied Sectors
Area in Ha for crops
Total No. of Participants








Exposure Visit (EV)

  1. Inter state

No. of EV
No. of Participants

  1. Within district

No. of EV
No. of Participants












Mobilisation of farmer groups

  1. Capacity building, skill developments and support services

No. of Groups formed
b.   Seed money/revolving fund








Rewards and Incentives
Best organised group representing different enterprises (5 groups)






Farm Information Dissemination




district level Exhibitions, Kisan melas, fruit/vegetable shows
No. of events
Total No. of Participants







Number of leaflets and advertisements made




Number of technology packages developed




Agricultural Technology Refinement, Validation and Adoption




Farmers Scientist Interaction at district level
No. of interactions
No. of farmers







Organisation of field days and kisan gosthies
No. of FDG
No. of farmers







Assessment, refinement, validation and adoption of frontline technologies and other short term researchable issues through KVKs and other local research centres
No. of KVKs involved
No. of trials/issues allocated









Establishment of ATMA like institutions
Operational Expenses for district level
Operational Expenses for block level
Operational Expenses Total
Hiring of vehicles
Civil Works and Refurnishing of ATMAOffice







Establishment of Block level FIACs




Innovative Activities-State level
Implementation of Extension Activities through Agri-Entreneurs trained under Agri-clinic Scheme
No. of Agri entrepreneurs involved






Innovative Activities at Ddistrict Level
Support for district level training institutions-it may include both operational expenses and non-recurring expenditure-progress





Total Summary



Officials at the block level opined that ATMA programmes have sufficient flexibility in selection of beneficiaries, selection of beneficiaries, conducting tours and implementing all activities, which is not there in other regular schemes implemented by their Departments.

Box 7. Interactions with BTT and FIAC members (Thiruvarangulam Block of Pudukkottai district)

Discussions with the BTT members and FIAC members revealed the following aspects related to ATMA functioning.

Insufficient funding: For a three day farmer training, the current allocation of Rs. 7,500/is inadequate. This should either be increased to Rs. 10,000/or the number of training days should be reduced to two. Out of the total amount for training 10% should have to be contributed by the participant. This is to ensure farmer’s whole hearted participation in the programme. The revolving fund given by ATMA should be increased (now Rs. 7,000/) or the FIGs should be attached to banks for loans apart from the revolving fund through ATMA support.

Different subsidy norms: The Chairman expressed the amount of subsidy for the same purpose should be made uniform by all the agencies. For instance, for demonstration of SRI paddy, the rates are different, Rs. 1000/- by ATMA; Rs. 2000/- by the Department of Agriculture; and Rs. 9000/- by TNAU. Demonstration amount of Rs. 1000/- by ATMA is too insufficient. Another suggestion was to give full subsidy for tools and implements by ATMA. The demonstration of technologies of ATMA is one/block and the number of farmers can be increased in this regard.

Marketing issues: Reorganisation of regulated markets in district and state level should be given attention to avoid the problem of middlemen. Structure of marketing committee should be revamped. Import regulations should be made to assess whether the commodity imported is needed or not. The procurement price fixed by the Government for rice is too low. ATMA should intervene in addressing the marketing problems and facilitate easy marketing. One possible way suggested was to encourage and facilitate farmers to do contract farming.

Though ATMA is formed by several of these organisations, specific programmes are implemented by many of the component units independently with or without ATMA funding and so programmes implemented by these Departments are discussed separately. So far ATMA has formed 20 Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) in 20 villages.

Box 8. Interactions with Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) - SRI Paddy.

The group was formed for bringing together members practising SRI and it has 17 of which 5 are women members and it is composed of small and marginal farmers. (ATMA intend to form one FIG exclusively for women who grow maize in this block). On an average only 10% of the paddy growers follow SRI method in the village. SRI has helped farmers to increase their paddy yields by 20%, with a 40% savings in water use. FIG members expect more people in the village to shift to SRI method.

TANWABE (Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture, Business and Extension)

The Department of Agriculture in Tamil Nadu has successfully implemented a project called “Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture” (TANWA) during the period 1989-2003. TANWA trained nearly one lakh farmwomen in the State and they were later made in to small viable groups to address their economical, social and technical needs and the programme has explicitly demonstrated advantages of the group approach. Taking the above facts into account, the Tamil Nadu Government initiated a 3 year project (started in the year 2005-06)(when mention year here) namely, “Tamil Nadu Women in Agri-business and Extension” (TANWABE). Learning from the experience of TANWA, several improvements and innovations were introduced in the new project. To make the rural farmwomen, technically competent, socio economically empowered, capable of handling the tasks efficiently, TANWABE decided to encourage the women groups to start micro enterprise activities. The micro enterprise activities may be of farm based or non farm based. A list of some 110 micro enterprise activities has been listed from which the groups can select the activity.  

In TANWABE, preference will be given to groups who are interested in taking up agri-entrepreneurial activities. Some literate women in the groups expressed their interest to undergo training in computers to access market intelligence and also Pest and Disease forecast. From the Department of Agriculture, Rs. 3, 500/group is being given as a revolving fund to start up micro-enterprise. This assistance may be increased to Rs. 10,000/in this year. But the groups should then handle 2-3 activities at the same time. Power tillers were issued @ Rs. 30,000/or 25 % subsidy on the cost of power tillers (whichever is less). The group members can utilise the power tillers in their own farms and can hire to others when not in use among the group. In the same manner, power sprayers are also issued. Now there is a proposal to sanction design markers to follow SRI paddy cultivation, to the TANWABE groups so that they hire and earn when not in use.

A total of 1010 TANWABE groups are there in Pudukkottai district. Out of which only 600 groups are active, practising about 275 entrepreneurial activities. In of the pilot project in Thirumayam block of Pudukkottai Dsitrict, the group was given training on production of bio agents. Five lakh rupees was sanctioned for the group as a floating advance by the State Government (Agricultural Department) and the group has started a bio control unit and presently the group is concentrating on the production of Trichogramma and Pseudomonas. There is a need to create more awareness on the use of bio control agents and its marketing needs to be co-ordinated with other Departments. Hereafter the bio agents produced by the group will be supplied to the IAMWARM programmes.

Box 9. Interactions TANWABE groups in Sathanipatti village of Keeranur block

One group belongs to farmwomen group (Leader: Rajakumari) and the other group belongs to agricultural labour group (Leader: Manimegalai). These groups were formed 16 months back. Initially the members started saving Rs. 25 per month, which they subsequently increased to Rs. 50/- month. Both the groups have taken up goat rearing as an economic activity and have been running their units successfully. TANWABE provided a revolving fund Rs. 3, 500/- and the rest, the groups managed from their savings. Women members of the group requested for more number of trainings on hygienic goat rearing and disease management. Necessary steps are being taken to link up the TANWABE groups to get the revolving fund from the DRDA (Rs. 10,000/group). As the cashew prices are high, the group members would like to get training in cashew processing also.

Marketing is a problem and there is need to initiate grading of products, improve packing, and adopt brand names. There is a need to conduct more awareness programmes on TANWABE as many potential women groups are not aware of the programme and many are reluctant to venture into new enterprises.

Department of Sericulture

Sericulture Department has formed SHGs of sericulture growers in several villages including Venkatapuram, Vadakadu, Thavalaipallam, Vazhaikurichi, Avanathankottai, Mukootupatti, Vengidakulam and Pullaanviduthi. This has allowed farerms to avail group credit and access expertise in marketing. The project gained momentum a few years ago when the Directorate introduced the `Shoot rearing,' a simplified form of sericulture. Buoyed by the response, it decided to promote a sericulture cluster. Banana cultivators, who incurred frequent losses due to calamities, were the first to switch over. The assured returns and mechanisation, which spared the farmers expenditure on the labour front, contributed to the success of the project. The establishment of a sericulture unit requires an investment of Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 70,000 for a thatched shed on a vast area to avoid hot temperature, and Rs. 30,000 towards shoot-rearing. The farmers surmounted the challenge by setting up SHGs.

The Directorate supplied the Disease-Free Laying. The SHGs contributed Rs. 10,000 and the banks extended credit to the tune of Rs. 14,000 a member. "The credit flow of Rs. 20,000 to each member from the district Sales and Marketing Society further encouraged the SHGs," said Mr. Chellappa, Assistant Inspector of Sericulture, Pudukkottai. Group activity has revived sericulture in the district, after a decade, due to extension work undertaken by the Directorate of Sericulture. The Department convened `sabhas' in villages and seminars in cities before floating the first SHG. About 160 farmers are now involved in sericulture on 180 acres. A farmer's annual harvest is about 450 kg of cocoons, accounting for an assured return of Rs. 34,000.

Unlike other Departments, the Department of Sericulture has utilised the services of ATMA to a maximum extent. With the support of ATMA, the Department of Sericulture, has organised district level meetings for 3 days, Village level meetings for 3 days, organized field day at Vamban Research Station for 1 day and one field day at Venkatapuram village. The groups were taken an exposure visit to Central Silk Board, Mysore. Many field demonstrations were set up in the villages on mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing, root rot disease control etc. The Department organized of formation of seven FIGs through ATMA.

Box 10. Interactions with Sericulture FIGs OF Vengidakulam, Pullanviduthy and Annavayal villages.

Eventhough the FIG members are mainly men, 100% of the work is attended by women only.They received Rs. 40000/- as subsidy from the Department of Sericulture. 1 acre is considered as a viable unit for sericulture. ATMA facilitated formation of SHGs and training. Input subsidy was provided by the Department of Sericulture. Each FIG has 15 members. After the formation of groups trainings and awareness camps were organized along with an exposure visit to Central Silk Board, Mysore. All members are small farmers and in each group 15-20 members. Their average cocoon production is 3000 kg per month. Some of the salient points that emerged during the group discussion are as follows:

Technology and Training: Adequate training is required for use of equipments supplied For instance, they got rotary mounts through the Sericulture Department. Quality silk is assured through rotary mounts, but there are no skilled persons for handling it. So training is required in rotary mount operation. The cocoons got out of rotary mounts fetch more than Rs. 15-20/kg of cocoons than the others. The groups also need more awareness visits to other states and districts and frequent trainings, as per farmer’s convenience. Some members expressed no knowledge of new techniques in silkworm rearing and mulberry cultivation. The drilling of bore wells in the region has led to more number of harvests and farmers are facing labour shortages. The groups feel that mechanisation is the only solution to deal with this. Another suggestion was to take up reeling activities.

Marketing Issues: There are several marketing problems in silk, because of the imports from China and also over production in the same area. This needs attention. Either high taxes have to be levied on imported silk or import should be reduced. While moving to other states/districts for marketing, they face transport and marketing problems. The quality of cocoons also decline during transport. (Nearby marketing places are Erode, Coimbatore, Salem, Hosur and Dharmapuri). They would like ATMA to support them with vehicles for transporting their produce to far off places. Only private dealers are concentrated in the market and no competition from the Government side. There is also a need to fix prices for the silkworm eggs.

  The Department of sericulture officials feel that formation of sericulture farmers into a society will be ideal for facilitating marketing, acquiring quality inputs and to obtain any other assistance from the Government. Formation of a co-operative would also ensure setting up a sales centre for inputs at reasonable prices. Setting up of reeling centres is also suggested so that the farmers can gain more. The farmers require improved storage bins like plastic bins to store and transport cocoons, but these are costly. However, there is not enough motivation among the farmers to join as a group. Farmers are practicing sericulture as an individual enterprise.

Box 11. Sericulture FIG in Vadakadu village

This FIG comprises of both men and women and they are running a reeling centre. Three youth of this FIG were trained under Women and Youth Programme funded by the Project Officer Magalir thittam. The members of the group require in situ training programme for women in reeling centres for their easy access to the village centres in the aspects of cooking, reeling, de-reeling (for fine silk), marketing, quality control etc. The duration of the training should be at least 15-20 days for effective learning of the aspects. The members expressed that Department should ensure more supply of Netrikas (equipment used to separate spinning larvae) at 50% subsidy and the balance amount should be borne by the members of the FIG. The reeling capacity of the existing centre is only 4000kg of cocoons/month. The members are of the view that some system or mechanism should be followed to arrest the import of silk from China or a suitable tax has to be levied on the import so that the native sericulturists would be benefitted.

Department of Animal Husbandry

The Department of Animal Husbandry organize veterinary camps at several places in the district Off campus and on campus trainings are also given to the farmers. Off campus trainings are conducted by coordinating the Departments through ATMA and the NGOs in the village level by organizing infertility camps and veterinary health camps etc. As of now 350 rural women were trained in 10 batches for 5 days on “Integrated Animal Husbandry Practices”. The programme is currently not in vogue because of the change of the Government. In Magalir Thittam, (another programme for rural women) 40 women members were trained in common Animal Husbandry Management Practices.

There are no proper milk societies in the district and no proper chilling centres. One of the suggestion to address this issue is supply of bulk coolers to the village societies through ATMAs. This would reduce storage losses. ATMA can be a facilitator in addressing the marketing problems through formation of FIGs and arranging subsidies from the Department of Animal Husbandry/Dairy Co-operatives for the supply of bulk milk coolers. There is no problem with respect to marketing of milk in Pudukkotai. However, the consumption of milk in rural areas is low.

In addition to this, TANUVAS is running two programmes in the district, Livestock Protection Programme which is regionally called as Kalnadai Padhukappu Thittam (KPT), Assistance to State for control of Animal Diseases etc.

Department of Fisheries

Department of Fisheries is implementing the following schemes.

Special SGSY particularly for Tsunami affected: The Government of India have accorded administrative approval for the following two special projects under SGSY to be implemented by the Department of Fisheries funded by the Department of Rural Development at an estimated cost of Rs. 28.16 crore as a measure of alternate livelihood support for the marine fisher folk of Tamil Nadu.

  • Intensive training on skill upgradation and livelihood support in Aquaculture and value addition of fishery products for the Tsunami affected fisher folk of Tamil Nadu.
  • Intensive training and livelihood support in Finfish cage culture and value addition of
    fishery products.

The project would be implemented in the 12 Coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. The major components of the projects include skill upgradation of different mariculture activities such as seaweed culture, mussel and oyster culture, fin fish cage culture, lobster and crab fattening, value addition training to the fish catches, solar drying, training in engine repair and net mending and ornamental fish culture, economic support to fisher folk for adopting mariculture activities such as seaweed and Mussel/Oyster culture and infrastructure development to support the project. This project aims to benefit about 42,000 fisher folk by upgrading their skills and improving their economic status. Apart from this, there will be a significant increase in Aquaculture production and export earnings

Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)- SGSY is a rural employment programme funded by the Central Ministry of Rural Development. Its main focus is on SHGs. At Pudukkottai, this programme is tied up with DRDA and is implemented by the Department of Fisheries. SHGs would be trained on taking up economic activity and supported with infrastructure. In Pudukkottai district, the target is 1100 women but only 300 were able to be trained in sea weed culture. Each of the select SHG group would get assistance and inputs worth Rs. 2.34 lakhs. Some of the constraints in implementing this programme are as follows:

Dearth of staff- There is only one inspector at the district level to implement all activities. Presently he has been promoted as Assistant Director and the post of the Inspector is vacant. Though the Department of Fisheries has several schemes from different funding agencies, there is not enough work force to bring them into action. Fishermen communities are not keen on taking up any alternated livelihood activity, other than fishing. Many of the trainees are attending the programme just for stipend sake (Rs. 150/member/day which is more than his daily wage)

Marketing- The MPEDA, Regional Office at Thanjavur will refer the companies for marine products for marketing. As the prices are decided by the buyers, the producers feel that they are not getting the right share of profits. Moreover, they also face the problem of storage. Only temporary storage facilities are available, whereas what they need is deep storage facilities.

Technology- For fin fish culture-technology is lacking. For the current year still 80% of the funds are left unutilised. The problem in implementation is non availability of live feed To carry out fin fish culture, live feed is necessary which is not available.

National Savings cum Relief Scheme for fisherwomen. Those who could save Rs. 75/for 8 months, the Government would contribute double this amount and give it back to them for survival during off seasons. Upto March 2006-07, 1,323 women were benefited out of this scheme.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Vamban

This KVK is attached to the Regional Research Station for Pulses of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. KVK offers training to SHGs and organise frontline Demonstrations. Normally 20-25 trainings are conducted every year, which include on campus and off campus training. It also conducts need based trainings for SHGs formed by the district Rural Development Agency (DRDA). So far KVK organised two frontline demonstrations on Enterprise Development Programmes- home care products preparation like candle and phenyl making and Value added cashew products (cashew juice, squashes, jam, candies etc). KVK has prepared proposals for organising and front line demonstrations for funding by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). An amount of Rs. 25,000-Rs. 30,000 is being given as input costs to carry put demonstrations on home care products and value added cashew products in 2006-07. For the current year, proposal has been sent to ICAR for organising frontline demonstrations on value added products of banana in which 10 beneficiaries are to be selected and 10 beneficiaries for drudgery reduction in farm mechanisation where Groundnut strippers will be supplied to 10 beneficiaries in collaboration with Agricultural Engineering. An amount of Rs. 25,000-Rs. 30,000 is being sanctioned by ICAR and funds are awaited.

One of the main constraints in ensuring women participation in trainings is their apparent reluctance to forgo their daily wages. Another factor is their restricted mobility. The ceiling for training expense should be increased. The stipend rate should also be increased from Rs. 40/trainee/day and it should be at least on par with their daily wage earnings (Rs. 50/- day). KVK representatives consider, branding, certification, publicity and organising these enterprises as a cottage industry as essential to promote women enterprises.

NWDPRA- National Watershed Development Programme for Rainfed Agriculture

In Pudukkottai district, restructured NWDPRA scheme is being implemented in Arimalam Block from 2002-2003. NWDPRA is implemented in 13 watersheds with single Project Implementing Agency, the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Arimalam Block. Under this programme, a watershed association has been formed in each watershed and the societies are registered under Societies Act. The scheme is implemented through the watershed associations.

There are no specific farmwomen related programmes except formation of SHGs in each watershed and motivating them to take up micro enterprises such as rearing of earthworms, organizing sheep, goat, dairy etc. A total of 130 SHGs are formed in 13 watersheds. Revolving funds were given to the groups to take up economic activities. Under the programme, soil erosion control measures, increase of ground water level, Jatropha cultivation, construction of check dams, farm ponds, percolation ponds, silting of existing channels etc are being promoted.

District Rural Development Agency (DRDA)

The district Rural Development Agency has been the prime mover in implementing different anti-poverty programmes. Over the years, DRDAs have emerged as the sole co-ordinating agency at district level to monitor all development programmes. Therefore the Government of India decided to make this body more professional and effective. As a measure towards this direction, the Government of India introduced a separate centrally sponsored scheme of DRDA Administration instead of meeting the administrative cost from different programmes as it was done earlier. 

At present DRDA is implementing SGSY programme which is the single, most important poverty alleviation programme for the rural poor implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development. This programme is nothing but Integrated Self-Employment Programme-Swarnajayanthi Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) with focus on group approach, identification of key activities with desired backward and forward linkages, developing activity clusters. SGSY actively promotes SHGs by organizing the rural poor through training and capacity building to evolve into a self managed organization. The SHGs are motivated through training and capacity building for taking up thrift and credit activity and build up their group corpus.

To achieve the objective the poor people were motivated through NGOs to mobilize them into groups. In Pudukkottai, 75 NGOs are engaged in the task of group formation. So far 10174 SHGs comprising of 178144 families were brought under the Group formation. As the programme targets families living below the poverty line, survey was undertaken in 2006 to identify the Below Poverty Level (BPL) population. There are 2, 27,378 families which were identified as BPL families.

In order to raise the capacity of all the SHGs every SHG was provided with revolving fund assistance and cash credit to the tune of Rs. 40,000/- from the bank. The DRDA provides Rs. 10,000/- as subsidy. So far 4061 SHGs have been provided with revolving fund. In Pudukkottai district, 758 SHGs have been provided with subsidy to the tune of Rs. 961.75 lakh for taking up key activities. The maximum subsidy for one SHG is Rs. 1.25 lakh. The major activities for which assistance were given include brick production, buying milch animals, stone quarry work, vegetable cultivation, flower cultivation, coir production, setting up Departmental store, Trichogramma production, hollow block production, nursery raising, dry fish, ready made garments, coconut thatches making, terracotta, cashew nut production, korai mat making etc. Various trainings were designed and conducted for SHGs based on the need. They are basic orientation training, entrepreneurship development training, skill training and skill upgradation training (do you mean to say that DRDA provides these kinds of trainings).

District Supply and Market Society (DSMS)

To enhance the marketability of the rural products, Government of India sanctioned Rs. 34 lakhs in Pudukkottai to construct a district Marketing Complex. The complex houses 10 shops, two exhibition cum training halls. The shops are being given to the SHGs to exhibit and sell their products. This DSMS is the marketing wing of district Rural Development Agency exclusively created to facilitate rural swarozgaris. The main objective of the society is to support Swarozgaris in augmenting their income and to create employment opportunities in order to alleviate them from poverty. This can be achieved through arranging:

  • other support services such as packing, branding, putting logo etc;
  • raw materials required for products manufacturing;
  • financial assistance to SHGs especially activity oriented and needy SHGs;
  • create employment opportunities to the skilled;
  • fulfill the skill training requirement in order to bring a qualitative product;
  • liase with various development departments and to arrange for convergence of various development schemes for the betterment of rural poor.

5 SHGs undertake Trichogramma production and these groups are tied up with EID Parry EID Parry is procuring the products developed by these SHGs. Vermicompost produced by the groups are being used in their own farms, mushroom for own consumption and nursery plants are being sold in the local market and nearby districts. Groups also participating in SARAS, a state level exhibition held once in 6 months. Women find it difficult to sell their products in these markets which are all dominated by men.

The sales through DSMS during 2003-04 have been more than those in the earlier two years: during 2003-04, the value of products sold was Rs. 19.31 lakhs, while it was Rs. 16.23 lakhs in the previous year and Rs. 18.06 lakhs during 2001-02 Sales are also promoted in rural shandies. But the practice of selling with brand names needs to be promoted. DSMS has created an SHG network so that exchange of items between groups is possible. This would also allow assessment of quality of the produce of one SHG by another SHG.

By combining 3 SHGs, cashew federation was formed-procurement –processing and direct sales. Cashew is purchased from local markets at Rs. 25-26/kg of kernel and the finished product is sold for Rs. 200/kg. 4-5 Kgs of kernel are required to produce one kg of the final product.

Magalir Thittam (MaThi)

Magalir Thittam is the name for the upscaled Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project (TNWDP) This project is intended to promote economic development and social empowerment of poor women through a net work of SHGs formed with the active support of NGOs. Magalir thittam is being in existence in the state since 1999. After nurturing the SHGs, they are facilitated to avail economic assistance by linking them with financial institutions. It is more than a facilitating agency. At Pudukkottai, there are 8983 groups formed through NGOs, with a total membership of 1, 45,152. 16 NGOs were involved in the formation process and the groups have savings to the tune of Rs. 6, 87 lakhs currently.

Trainings are organised on various aspects like mushroom cultivation, bee keeping, animal husbandry, vegetable cultivation, nursery techniques, sericulture, vermin-composting etc. Marketing is facilitated through DSMS. MATHI & DSMS organize stalls and exhibitions. Transport cost is met out by the Government. Several vocational trainings and EDP trainings are being given for duration of 7 days, 10 days and 15 days.

Some of the major constraints in implementation of the scheme includes: Mobility, or lack of proper transport to attend the training by the trainees from different remote places and lack of transport to transfer their products for marketing etc; the need for repeated persuasion to involve more women in all programmes: lack of skill oriented training in agriculture and no assured market for the produce. Suggestions include, setting up of malls to sell the SHG products, provision of incentives to small farmers involved in the business and grading of final produce to improve the market quality.

NGO initiatives

CARE (Centre to Actuate the Rural and Environment)

CARE has been operating in 18 villages in the Pudukkottai district since 1995. For the last 6 years, CARE has been involved in the promotion of sustainable farm activities. It aims at promoting equity and ecological order of the society, through sustainable agriculture, participatory watershed management and management and development of natural and human resources in rural areas. These are the important activities taken up by CARE

  • Promoting Community based organisations.
  • Integrated Crop Management - facilitation of the Farmers Federation Society (FFS) approach to manage important food  and cash crops of the area.
  • Awareness programs on management and development of the components of the Ecosystem.
  • Capacity building training and facilitation to Networks and Organisations in promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Watershed management.
  • Planning for publications on key issues related to Sustainable Agriculture, Rural development and women empowerment.


CARE has formed 120 women federations and 120 men federations. CARE is facilitating the formation of Federations. The federations are involved in input supply and adjusting marketing time of the produce to get more benefit. ome of the already established SHGs were not functioning in few villages and in some villages the SHG’s were withdrawn. CARE staff members made efforts to reconstruct the SHGs in such places. Wherever SHGs exist, even if they were formed by other organisations, they were motivated to form Women Sangam addressing the farming and livelihood issues. The linkages with the Banks are in progress and some of the SHG’s are yet to open the bank accounts. The women Sangams from each village have taken up some of the basic social problems within their village such as street light connection, drinking water facility etc

  • The lead persons who are representatives from women sangams meet on every month and share their social and other agriculture related issues. They realise that they become a model for the men farmers to organise as a sangam in every village. The formation of Women Sangam Federation is completed and the leaders were elected during the federation meeting in December, 2006. The farmers’ federation pooled paddy from the village growers and they went for delayed marketing which brought considerable profit to all the farmers. They have promoted 100% pesticide free rice cultivation in 10 villages. CARE has also given training to women groups on WTO issues and Globalisation policies and this training was attended by both men and women. They do work with ATMA, but no particular activity has been identified so far. ATMA has promoted the involvement of NGOs only in the current year. CARE expects ATMA to support NGOs at the management and financial aspects.

CARE feels that women are still in the clutches of men and in agriculture, all decisions are being taken by men and so it would be better to include men also in gender training, so that they too appreciate the positive role of women. They would also like to see that all government supported women programmes are continuously monitored by the NGOs.


CIRRUS is providing the micro-finance support to SHGs, There are 64 (both in Pudukkottai and Thanjavur districts) SHGs formed by CIRRUS and each group comprises, 6-7 members. Their savings range from Rs. 50-Rs. 100/month. CIRRUS gives loans to the groups through which they could start small enterprises such as dairying, goat farming, petty shops etc. CIRRUS issues loans at 1% per month interest; the group members give loans to the members in turn at 3%interest rate. The interest rate received will be added to the savings of the groups. Products are sold at the local market.

Major lessons

The state, through its Department of Agriculture, had successfully implemented a 15 year project, Tamil Nadu Women in Agriculture Project (TANWA). The main focus of TANWA was on training farmwomen and forming them into groups. After the end of TANWA, the state DoA initiated the project TANWABE, with the explicit recognition that rural women need to be encouraged to organise micro-enterprises, if their incomes have to improve. TANWABE has been trying to do this through a mix of subsidies, trainings, revolving funds and exposure visits. ATMA too follow a similar strategy (exposure visits, demonstrations, trainings etc), thought the focus is on productivity enhancement and training and forming farmer interest groups.

Though ATMA do not have a very specific women focus, it is encouraging more women to attend their programmes. Other programmes such as irrigation modernisation (IAMWARM), has a target to cover at least 10% of its participants from women. However, lack of title deeds in the name of women, has been constraining their inclusion in these programmes. Though ATMA ensured additional funding and flexibility in implementation (which is not available with regular programmes), many raised the issue of inadequacy of funds (or love spending limits) for different activities (demonstrations, trainings etc) and the different norms (norms for expenditure) by different agencies for similar activities. Many believe that marketing is the major problem faced by the farmers and ATMA should actively intervene in marketing aspects. Marketing of cocoons (increasing costs and decreasing prices mainly due to imports) is also a major problem which none of the agencies have been able to satisfactorily address.

DRDA and Magalir Thittam have been forming SHGs of rural people. Magalir Thittam has an exclusively focus on women and it is using NGOs to mobilise SHGs and the groups are then linked to a facilitating agency. Though several NGOs and micro-finance organisations are also forming, supporting and federating women SHGs, but these do not seem to be recognised or appreciated by the Government agencies.

Marketing of products continues to be a major problem for the rural entrepreneurs through the government has established a separate marketing wing, district Supply and Market Society (DSMS) and subsidises transportation expenses incurred for taking produce to exhibitions. Marketing of rural value added products continues to be a matter of serious concern to rural producers and this problem is especially serious for women entrepreneurs.

Fund utilisation norms, shortage of work force for implementing large number of programmes, and limited funds are all constraining government agencies and this is affecting the performance of all programmes including programmes focussing on women. Without adequate operational funding, the quality of training, demonstration and education tours suffer.

Conclusions and Implications

This stocktaking on the status of implementation of women specific initiatives in two pilot districts was undertaken with the primary objective of finding the best ways in which the “Cafeteria for women in agriculture”, which was developed earlier by us for the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, could best be tested.

When we prepared the cafeteria in 2002-2003, our assumption was that during the X Plan (2002-2007), when the states prepare women specific programmes for implementation, they would use a totally different approach, which is summarised below.

  1. Programme and projects would be developed from grass root level and are based on a thorough assessment of the local situation in each district/state
  2. Each district has the flexibility to develop a programme or project that is relevant to their local situations
  3. The district/block level authorities have sufficient operational flexibility in implementing the programmes or projects
  4. There is sufficient flexibility in the design of programmes or projects that allows opportunity to learn from progress and to make mid-course corrections as required
  5. Programmes are developed in partnerships with different agencies and organisations

The cafeteria strongly argued to all those developing new programmes and projects for women, especially the Department of Agriculture, to keep in view the following factors.

  1. New projects should build on groups, networks, organisational capacity and resources already in place and functioning from existing project initiatives
  2. It should take on and build on lessons from existing projects
  3. Apart from extending agricultural technologies on production and post harvest to women farmers, new programmes should concentrate on providing crucial back-up services and support (backward and forward linkages) to help women groups to successfully adopt new techniques, crops and enterprises to increase their incomes and employment opportunities
  4. New programmes should be planned with adequate resources for mobilising women, forming groups, improving capability in technical, organisational and commercial (business/micro-enterprises) sectors and support systems (credit, raw materials and markets)
  5. It should be prepared jointly in consultation with other organisations (public, private, voluntary) that can potentially complement and supplement the efforts of DoA

The cafeteria also highlighted the importance of obtaining and analysing the right type of information while developing new proposals and discussed how to select relevant interventions, identify suitable partners, develop better institutional arrangements and ensure transparent functioning.

However, in 2007, when we started looking at the status of implementation of women programmes, we realise that nothing much has changed in the way the programmes are implemented. The major change at the district level is the formation of ATMA. This has ensured some additional funding. The funding through ATMA can only be termed as supplementary (Rs. 20-25 lakhs/year) as it can only support some additional activities which the line Departments are already doing. The funding is also meagre, considering the limited number of activities this amount can support.

Most of the programmes for women in agriculture, implemented by Departments such as agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries or sericulture are subsidy and input focussed. Programmes implemented by other rural development organisations also have a higher allocation for distribution of inputs and provision of financial support.

Over the last one decade, the SHG movement, mainly the thrift and credit groups of rural women, have spread across these two pilot states (AP and TN) and this has improved rural women’s access to loans and revolving funds. Technical training and exposure visits to members and groups interested to take up farming or any other enterprises have definitely helped women in taking up new enterprises. However, women’s limited access to markets and lack of skills on understanding and responding to markets has constrained several potentially viable enterprises from expanding.

Rural women clearly need access to markets, but at the same time, their capacity to respond to market changes also needs strengthening. Rural women clearly need a range of support- organisational, technical, marketing and enterprise development, but this is often not available. The Department of Agriculture does not have the needed skills to provide this integrated support and so they have to partner with others who have this expertise. Sending women groups for a training programme is not enough. What most of the groups need is “hand-holding” (mentoring) over a period of time till the enterprise matures, which many of the bureaucratic organisations have difficulty to organise.

Integrated support to women can be ensured, only if these different agencies having varied and complementary skills interact and share their expertise. However, the Department of Rural Development and the agricultural Departments (including agriculture, animal husbandry, sericulture, fisheries, KVKs and ATMA) do not work together and the interactions among them are weak. Public sector-NGO interactions are also not very good. Work force shortages are common and every staff is under pressure to meet targets of a number of programmes involving distribution of subsidies and inputs.

Programmes are designed centrally (state or national level) and implemented with uniform guidelines. districts and blocks do not have any flexibility to modify the norms though this has been adversely affecting the performance of all activities. In other words, the “institutions” (norms, habits and practices, routines) within the organisations implementing women specific programmes is the major factor constraining implementation of women specific programmes. These institutions have been affecting the performance of all programmes, including women programmes.


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