Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) has begun preparations for participating in an intensive cultivation programme in the State aimed at producing an additional 30,000 tonnes of vegetables for the coming Onam season.

The programme, under the Kerala Vegetable Mission, will see around 3,000 hectares coming under intensive cultivation to meet the target fixed by the Agriculture Department.

Sources in the VFPCK said that the additional land being brought under the programme will be spread across 100 panchayats in the State and that BPL families will be centrally involved in it.

The roles of various agencies have been defined for the new venture. While VFPCK will be providing the seeds and seedlings, Kerala Agriculture University has been entrusted with the task of monitoring pests and disease conditions. Kerala Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) will be directly in-charge of marketing the produce.

Onam season has traditionally been the period when demand for vegetables peak in the State, triggering a rise in prices.

10 lakh seedlings

VFPCK sources said that the Council had been entrusted with the task of producing 10 lakh seedlings, to be supplied free of cost to the farmers. Part of the funds allotted to the Council by the Government will be utilised for the seedlings production and distribution programme.

VFPCK will also need to meet the seeds requirement for the vegetable production programme, which will be catered to by the seeds production unit of the Council at Alathur in Palakkad district. It is estimated that around 15 tonnes of seeds will be needed for the Onam season programme.

For the seedlings production too, the Alathur centre will play a key role, producing approximately 3.5 lakh units. The Ernakulam centre of VFPCK will produce around 1.5 lakh units. The rest of the seedling production has been allotted to the various district centres.

Keywords: Festival season