Organic Farming Gets a Boost Up in the State
Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. It, in short, is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.
And it seems our home state of Kerala is planning to take the roots of Organic Farming deep. Addressing the stakeholders in a meeting to review the performance of public sector undertakings, Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan announced about the government’s initiative to promote organic farming in all Assembly constituencies.
The agriculture sector in the State has seen a Gross State Domestic Product growth of 5.26 per cent over the last year, with the production of paddy going up to 5.376 lakh tonnes though the acreage of 2.148 hectares showed little increase. The productivity of other crops such as coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple and other fruits and spices, including pepper, ginger, and turmeric, also have registered an impressive growth.
Government is also planning on inspiring the farmers to procure vegetables through Krishi Bhavans and market them through outlets of Horticorp and Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam.
Earlier in September last year, the state government had released its vision of expanding organic farming to 2,000 hectares in three districts. The State Horticulture Mission (SHM) had then invited expression of interest from various organizations in the organic farming sector to carry out cultivation on 2,000 hectares in Wayanad, Idukki and Kasaragod districts for the financial year 2014-15.
This was followed up by MLA K Dasan’s comprehensive organic farming project, encompassing agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development and aquaculture, for Koyilandy Assembly constituency, wherein for the initial phase, a 50 crore project was submitted to Agriculture minister for approval. This has been considered as a pilot project for the widened state program that was announced by Mr K P Mohanan on New Year’s Day.
Supporting this initiative on all fronts and trying to make the best of the opportunity, the Government has planned to install vending machines in every Panchayat to dispense neera, vegetable seeds and products manufactured by Kerafed. The project would be implemented by the departments of Agriculture and Panchayats.
The State Horticulture Mission (SHM) has also kept in pipeline the possibility of Organic Certification for farmers. The government-certified agency will give organic certification to the farming clusters after soil sample testing and leaf analysis for three years. Banana, pineapple, mango, guava, litchi, pear, strawberry, passion fruit, cut flowers, loose flowers, pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, cashew, aromatic and medicinal plants are some of the NHM-mandated crops for organic farming.
The highlight of this certification lies in the fact that the farmer will get 30% of the vegetable’s cost if he obtains an organic certification.
Kerala has lacked a strategic vision in the promotion of Organic farming till date. All it’s activities, until now, have been under he aegis of the Central Government. In such a scenario, the present steps taken by the State Government provide a positive vision for the organic farming community and to the consumers as a whole, who can now, rest assured, be hopeful of a truly “fruitful” venture ahead.
News Source : The Hindu; Image Courtesy : farmingorganic.org