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           basis for improvement of agriculture and plantations. In 1778, the colonial government established nurseries for spices at Tinnevelly district, Perambak- kam, Madurantakam and Salavakkam in Chingleput district (all in present-day Tamil Nadu) for commercial purposes. Foreign spices such as nutmegs and clove plants were imported and raised at Courtallam Hills (in Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu). However, the expenses on these nurseries were much more than the income derived from them, and they were auctioned to private individuals.
To promote new varieties, horticul- ture societies were established. One such society was the Agricultural and Hor- ticultural Society of Madras (AHSM), established in 1835. The society aimed to introduce new varieties, give awards for improved agricultural products, and develop horticulture through grants. In
a policy on agriculture. Viceroy John Lawrence (1864-69) initiated the es- tablishment of an agricultural depart- ment after the Orissa Famine in 1866. But this proposal was ignored. Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1869 again emphasised agricultural development in the country. Efforts of Lord Mayo and AO Hume, who was a member of the Bengal Civil Service, resulted in the creation of the Department of Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce in 1871. But again, the colonial government gave importance
to revenue. The department was set up to aid cotton export to Manchester, and not work towards alleviating those af- fected by famine. In fact, a report rec- ommended the abolition of the depart- ment as it failed in its duty of revenue enhancement. In 1879, the department was shut down due to insufficient fund- ing, lack of staff and support from the
Image Courtesy: The Illustrated London News 25 April 1874/Creative Commons
the following few years, experiments were carried out in various areas in In- dia. New varieties were imported from places such as Australia. In 1856, seeds of the gum tree (Eucalyptus) were im- ported from Australia and planted at Ootacamund, which became the main source of fuel in the region. In 1866, cinchona trees from Peruvian Islands were transplanted to India to protect the British army from malaria.
For the first time, the imperial gov- Image Courtesy: Illustrated London News, 1874/Creative Commons
ernment introduced entomology as a branch of agricultural science. This was to investigate the causes of all plant dis- eases, as it continued to be a great loss of revenue to the government. Efforts to grow imported varieties in India met with little success because there was no importance given to local ecology and geological conditions.
After an early phase of experiments, colonial rulers made efforts to have
The colonial government introduced entomology as a branch of agricultural science to investigate plant diseases that caused great loss of revenue to the British
 government. Hume in his work, Ag- ricultural Reform in India, stated the department could not exercise any ef- fect on agriculture in the country. It was primarily to maintain records of settlements, agricultural statistics and land revenue.
In 1880, the Famine Commissioners headed by Richard Strachey stressed the requirement to disseminate scientific knowledge of agriculture and appoint officers with adequate knowledge on India’s agrarian conditions. Following this, in 1882, the Department of Rev- enue and Agriculture was reinstituted. Despite stressing on the need for im- provement of the agricultural system, the department again began focusing on revenues.
In 1905, a scheme was approved for reconstitution of separate provincial agricultural departments. Therefore, imperial and provincial departments were constituted in the agricultural pol- icy. The Agriculture Research Institute

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