Thousands of hectares in Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad districts will be brought under organic agriculture in a nationwide initiative by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed).

The programme, specifically aimed at horticultural produce and spices in Kerala, will come under the national food security programme initiated by the Union Agriculture Ministry, said C. V. Ananda Bose, Managing Director of Nafed.

He told The Hindu that around 3,500 hectares had been identified in the six districts in the State, chosen for the pilot programme and involving both small and medium-sized holdings. The programme is set to take off this month. Considering the peculiar situation in Kerala, where holdings are small, mixed crop will be ideal, said Mr. Bose. Once the organic agriculture programmes take root, it will be spread to other areas.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) will be centrally involved in the project, providing seeds specifically developed for the conditions in Kerala. Mr. Bose said that BARC with which Nafed was involved in supplying quality seeds across India would develop strains suited to Kerala.

Kerala will also benefit from a programme to use micro-nutrients instead of general fertilizers in agriculture. Micro-nutrient programme focuses on using what precisely needed for plants under specific soil conditions and is a part of the larger concept of organic agriculture.

These programmes are being launched under the flagship projects like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and National Horticultural Mission.

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