Salem District of Tamil Nadu which is located between 11.140 and 12. 530 North and 77.440 and 78.500 East in the north central part and it is spreads about 5245sq.km, and it is a land locked area. The area has well marked with hills in the north and south eastern direction. The study area is a southern extension of Mysore plateau and Salem District is also called as Talaghat upland.
The elevation decreases from north to south and towards east. The study area’s an ideal location for bi-model rainfall; peculiarly summer showers bring half of the seasonal rain.
Generally this area is called as Geologic paradise due to the occurrence of many varieties of rocks and minerals, and also famous for its rainfed and irrigated agriculture. Salem is famous for steel plant, Stanley Reservoir and spinning mills. Shervory hills are famous hill station is found in Salem. The population of Salem district is 34, 80, 008 according to 2011 Census and it ranked fifth among the District wise population of the Tamil Nadu state.
At present Salem District contains 9Taluks, 20 Blocks, 33 town panchayats, 4 revenue divisions, 631 revenue villages, 4 municipalities and one corporation.
Yercaud is a Hill station in Salem District, in Tamil Nadu, India. It is located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats. It is situated at an altitude of 1515 metres (4970 ft) above sea level, and the highest point in Yercaud is the Servarayan temple, at 5,326 feet (1,623 m). The total extent of Yercaud Taluk is 382.67 km2, including reserve forest. The entire Taluk is administered as a township.
Yercaud also has a village council. The 19th century British settlers in Salem found Yercaud. Salem District Governor Kak Burn introduced the fruits of coffee and apples. Yercaud, known as Ooty of the poor, is a paradise for the middle class people. There is an increasing number of tourists coming to Yercaud, where the shade of the trees, the breeze and the impact of the sun obscures the sun.
Yercaud, which is around 383 sq. Km and is surrounded by beautiful natural cliffs, is a popular tourist attraction. There are also parks for children to enjoy. You can take a bath in the Killiyoor Falls here. The Yercaud lake is filled with water that gives the water to the lake. The Mount Temple is one of the oldest and most famous shrines located at an altitude of 5342 ft above sea level. From the pakoda tip, the lower part of the area looks beautiful. Tourists are of the opinion that traveling at a very low cost can be a source of happiness.
Winter starts in September and ends in January. In winter, the mountains are covered with mist. Temperatures range from 12 ° C to 24 ° C in winter and 16 ° C to 30 ° C in summer. The average rainfall is 1500-2000 mm.
Coffee plantations are the main source of income. The coffee planter was brought from Africa in 1820 by Mr MD Cockburn and planted on the Grange estate. Yala, star apple, fig, water apple, pear, banana, orange, guava, black pepper, cardamom, etc. Sandalwood, Teak and Silver Oak are abundant.
Horticultural Research Station, Yercaud was started in the year 1976. It is situated 35 km from Salem in Athiyur village, 3 km away from Yercaud town on Nagalur Road. The total area of the station is 45.16 ha. It is at latitude of 11.4 to 11.5oN. The elevation is 1500 m MSL and it receives an annual rainfall of 1600-1800 mm. The mean temperature ranges from 21.0 to 32.2oC (day); 9.0 to 18.0oC (night). The relative humidity ranges from 58 to 75 per cent. The soil is lateritic with a depth of 0.52 to 1.55m. The soil pH varies from 4.75 to 6.25. Coffee is the major crop of interest, besides mandarin orange, spices like pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom, cut flowers like anthodium, gerbera, orchids, vegetable such as beans, chow chow, cauliflower, tomato, carrot.
“Organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc.) and to the maximum extent feasible relies upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological” by WiKi pedia.
Organic Farming has been practiced in India for thousands of years. The great Indian civilization thrived on organic farming. In traditional India, the entire industry of agriculture was practiced using organic techniques, where the fertilizers and pesticides were obtained from plant and animal products. Although the term organic farming is getting popularity in recent times, but it was initiated in 10000 years back when ancient farmers started cultivation depending on natural sources only. There is brief mention of several organic inputs in our ancient literatures like Rigveda, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kautilya Arthasashthra etc. In fact, organic agriculture has its roots in traditional agricultural practices that evolved in countless villages and farming communities over the millennium. Organic farming was the backbone of the Indian economy and cow’s dung was used as a fertilizer.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the ever-increasing population of India, along with several natural calamities, led to a severe food scarcity in the country. Millions of poor Indians would die of hunger in the mid 1970s. As a result, the government was forced to import food grains from foreign countries. To increase food security, the government had to drastically increase food production in India. Therefore government introduced Green Revolution in the 1960s under the supervision of S.S. Swaminathan. Several hectares of land were brought under cultivation. Hybrid seeds were introduced. Natural and organic fertilizers were replaced by chemical fertilizers and locally made pesticides were replaced by chemical pesticides.
But organic production is near-term from farmers’ movement and consumer choice which cannot be ignored. All facilities need to be extended to organic farmer’s as they need appropriate package of practice, capacious amounts of organic inputs and good domestic as well as export market. Organic farming should not be discouraged under any circumstances.
The National Centre of Organic Farming will act as facilitator for promoting organic agriculture in India. The immediate task is to arrange availability of organic inputs and inputs low cost certification process. There is already demand from farmers that there should be separate standard and certification for domestic market. Looking to the forward direction of organic market across the world, there is no need of diluting the standards made for purely organic.
But the demand for alternative standard has stemmed from the fact that the large proportion of organic farming either by default or by sustainable practice with use of negligible chemicals could not be certified as the existing standard does not permit it. As a result of it, many farmers in the country are not getting any advantage from view point of income generation. Looking to the need of alternative standard; certification process, efforts may be made to promote organic green food or eco-friendly food (which allows the use of limited and specified agro-chemicals of safe level in the line of standard made by local Public Health Department) as being practiced by China on large scale. By this way many cultivated land can be used and transformed and environmental efficiency can be increased. But the whole process needs more study and it is ultimate choice of farmer and consumer who will finally dictate the policy for better agriculture in the country.
It is no doubt that the greatest challenge of today’s agriculture is to feed the growing population and restore the natural resources. Global food production needs to be doubled by 2020 and just to maintain the present precipitate food consumption. Uncontrolled population growth in developing countries accelerated the imbalance between human needs and sustainable use of land. Though by virtu of chemical fertilizers the production and productivity of crops has increased, the increased use of pesticides has posed many environmental and health problems. The chemical fertilizers and pesticides used over a long period of time have adverse toxic effects on the production potential of the land and the ultimate consumers of the products. Therefore Indian farmers are gradually increasing fertilizers for more and more production of agriculture.
Excessive use of chemical fertilizers causes environmental pollution. When water soluble nitrogen fertilizers are applied to the soil, a good portion of added nutrients does not become available to the plants, but is lost to the ground water through leaching or run off. The excess nitrate leached in to rivers or ponds encourages the growth of organisms and thus a lot of organic matter produced which on decomposition lead to bad smell, which has an adverse effect on health. Foods grown with chemical fertilizers caused various deteriorating health hazards in animals as well as human beings as herbicides affect the central nervous system, respiratory and gastro intestinal system, nausea, depression, insomnia, cancer, asthama, alzeimers and bone diseases.
The indiscriminate use of pesticide concerns the presence of pesticide residues in our foods. According to WHO, 14000 people die every year in the third world countries due to pesticide poisoning. Its immediate effect has appeared on environment and ecosystem also. Large scale death of birds is reported every year.
The growth of organic agriculture in India has three dimensions and is being adopted by farmers for different reasons. First category of organic farmers are those which are situated in no-input or low-input use zones, for them organic is a way of life and they are doing it as a tradition. Second category of farmers are those who have recently adopted the organic in the wake of ill effects of conventional agriculture, may be in the form of reduced soil fertility, food toxicity or increasing cost and diminishing returns. The third category comprised of farmers and enterprises which have systematically adopted the commercial organic agriculture to capture emerging market opportunities and premium prices.
Indian consumers are becoming more and more conscious about their health; the Indian market in offering increasing potential for health friendly food segments such as that of organic food. In the recent past, level of awareness about organic farming and benefits of organic food among people has increased to a great extent and to take advantage of this situation, many big corporate and retailers have opened a lot of shops for selling organic food items. Government has also realized the importance of organic farming for social welfare and preservation of environment, and took various steps for the expansion of organic food market, in which attention should be given to many factors such as low availability, high price, complexity of certification, lack of information, publicity of health benefits, freshness, taste packaging, etc.
Cost and Benefit Ratio Analysis is used to assess the economies of crops / farming system benefits cost ratio analysis is an important tool. It is the ration of benefit with cost. As the benefit cost ratio indicates the rate of net returns from the use of an input.
The variable costs were the farm expenditure on seed, fertilizers, human labor, bullock labor, etc. Total cost of production was calculated by adding all the expenditure on variable inputs as below:
Total cost = Σ of cost of all variable inputs. = cost of land preparation + cost of fertilizer + cost of human labor + cost of other inputs
Benefit cost ratio is ratio between the gross return and total cost of any enterprise. In this study, benefit cost ratio was calculated by using the formula:
BCR = Gross Returns – Total Production / Total Production Cost
In agricultural operations, the cost of cultivation refers to the expenses incurred on the various inputs (i.e) production cost to obtain the final produce. Against this background, the study of cost and returns of agricultural commodities is important for taking policy decisions for the benefit of both, the consumers and producers and also for managing the food security system. The cost of production of different agricultural commodities reacts differently in the event of disequilibrium of supply and demand. The study of cost variability covers their distinct patterns in long-term and short-term perspectives.
Besides, the magnitude or volatility of cost variation of different agricultural commodities depends on the respective elasticity of demand. Though a sustained growth of agricultural production helps to maintain the non-inflationary long run supplies of food and agricultural raw material; yet in the short and medium term, the cost fluctuations of agricultural commodities become inevitable even in the consistent agricultural growth regime due to in-built factor of seasonality of production cycle which, in turn, is largely depending on seasonal cycle of agro-climatic conditions.
Thus, the cost variability is ingrained in the production and consumption system of agricultural commodities. It analyses in-depth of the cost variability. A synthesis of the same is envisaged to be of help to policy makers to reconcile with the behaviour of cost change and to be sensitive to the abnormalities creeping in the expected norms of cost variations.