Elephant-proof trenches will be dug along reserve forests on Lower Kodaikanal Hill at an estimated cost of ?40 lakh to prevent entry of wild elephants into farms and protect standing crops, according to Collector T.G. Vinay.
Addressing a workshop on ‘New crop diversification options in coffee-based cropping system in south India’ held here on Tuesday, he said Forest Department had sent a proposal to this effect to the government. After getting government’s approval, the work would be undertaken, and digging of trenches would be completed within two or three months.
Solar fences would be erected on rocky terrains, where digging of trenches was not possible, at an estimated cost of ?9 lakh, he said.
With shortage of water for irrigation on the hills, adoption of modern irrigation techniques and cultivation of low water-consuming crops were necessary. Drip and micro irrigation and introduction of high-yielding crops would make farming activity on Palani Hill remunerative, he added.
Mr. Vinay said farmers should act as a ‘pressure group’ to extract funds and schemes from the departments concerned. Similarly, growers of different crops and plants could form groups to avail themselves of schemes, he added.
With the introduction of tissue-cultured banana, cultivation of ‘Hill Banana’, which was almost wiped out from Lower Palani Hill owing to ‘Bunchy top disease’ attack, was restored and the area under cultivation of the variety had increased manyfold.
All possible help to improve production and yield would be extended to growers, he said.