Agriculture continues to be the most predominant sector of the State economy,
as 70% of the population is engaged in Agriculture and allied activities
for their livelihood. The State has as an area of 1.3 Lakh sq.km with a
gross cropped area of around 63 L.Ha.. The Government's policy and
objectives have been to ensure stability in agricultural production
and to increase the agricultural production in a sustainable manner
to meet the food requirement of growing population and also to
meet the raw material needs of agro based industries, thereby
providing employment opportunities to the rural population.
Tamil Nadu has all along been one of the states with a
creditable performance in agricultural production with
the farmers relatively more responsive and receptive to
changing technologies and market forces.
The Agriculture Department has taken up the challenge to
achieve higher growth rate in agriculture by implementing
several development schemes and also propagation of relevant
technologies to step up the production. Intensive Integrated
farming system, massive Wasteland Development Programme,
comprehensive watershed development activities, water
management through Micro irrigation systems, Organic
farming, Soil health improvement through Bio-fertiliser
including Green Manuring, adoption of Integrated Nutrient
Management (INM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
technologies are given priority through various programmes,
besides crop diversification to fetch better return and
value addition to agricultural produce are also given
priority to improve the economic status of the farming community.
The principal food crops are rice, maize, jowar (cholam), bajra (cumbu),
ragi, and pulses (Bengalgram, Redgram, Greengram Blackgram and
Horsegram). The cash crops include cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds,
coffee, tea, rubber, coconut, gingelly and chillies.
The important horticultural products are bananas and
mangoes.The state is the largest producer of bananas,
flowers, tapioca, the second largest producer of mangoes,natural
rubber, coconut, groundnut and the third largest producer of
coffee, sapota ,tea and sugarcane .Tamil Nadu's sugarcane
yield per hectare is the highest in India. The state
has 17,000 hectares of land under oil palm cultivation,
the second highest in India. Paddy is grown in large
excess because rice is the main staple food of the state.
There are three crops based on duration. The first one is
the ‘Kuruvai’ (the short term crop) with duration
of three and a half to four months from June to
July to Oct - Nov. The second crop is called
the ‘Thaladi’ that grown in 5 to 6 months Oct - Nov to Feb - March.
Third is 'Samba' and has a duration of almost 6 months from Aug to January.
Tamil Nadu with Seven agro-climatic conditions and varied
soil types is better placed for production of Fruits,
Vegetables, Spices, Plantation crops, Flowers, Medicinal
and Aromatic plants. Horticulture is the fastest growing
sector within agriculture in Tamil Nadu. About 10.96 lakh ha.
is covered under various horticultural crops. The total
production of horticultural crops is 192.28 lakh MT.
In terms of production, Tamil Nadu accounts for 10%
in fruits and 6% in vegetables, in India . Horticulture
is an important segment of Agriculture sector which
contributes about one - fifth share in the economy
of Agriculture and allied sectors. Mango and Banana
are the leading fruit crops in Tamil Nadu accounting
for over 87% of the total fruit production. The main
vegetables grown are Tapioca, Tomato, Onion, Brinjal
and Drumstick. Tamil Nadu is also a leading state
in the production of flowers with the total production of
horticultural crops standing at Indian Rupee symbol.svg 99.47
Lakhs during 2003-04. The main flowers grown in
Tamil Nadu are Jasmine, Mullai, Chrysanthemum, Marigold and Rose.