Chennai, Mar 19 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam today said the state government would form honey bee clusters to promote bee keeping. Presenting his second agriculture budget in the State Assembly, he said Bees that produce a drop of nectar by visiting hundreds of flowers prove the agility. Bees act as agents for pollination of flowers. Considering their importance to increase the production of Horticulture crops and enhance the farmers‟ income, 37 honey bee clusters will be formed to promote beekeeping at a financial outlay of Rs.8.58 crore by the Union and State Government Fund. He said Bee colonies and equipment manufacturing centres will be established for distribution of quality honey bee colonies and its equipment to farmers thereby promoting new entrepreneurs. He said special emphasis will be given to women farmers in coordination with the Departments of Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, Rural Development, Khadi and Village Industries. To augment the income of Self-Help Groups, 3,350 Bee Keeping units will be created under the Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihood Mission at a cost of Rs.1.67 crore. Pointing out that Tamil Nadu stands second in production and first in area at National level in loose flowers, the Minister said in order to increase the daily income of women, the cultivation of flower crops like Jasmine, Tuberose, Marigold, Rose and Chrysanthemum will be increased in an extent of 4,250 acres at an outlay of Rs.5.37 crore. He also announced Special vegetable area expansion programme to increase the arrivals in Uzhavar Sandhai (farmers markets). Uzhavar sandhais with less vegetable arrivals will be identified and special attention will be given to the villages in and around such Uzhavar sandhais. This year, it is programmed to increase the area by 6,250 acres through distribution of seeds, Protray seedlings and inputs with a financial outlay of Rs.5 crore with State Government fund. This will ensure continuous increase in arrival of vegetables to the Uzhavar Sandhais. UNI GV 1442
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