A year ago, offices of the Joint Director of Agriculture and the Deputy Commissioner here urged the State Government to declare a Kerala model package to Dakshina Kannada for preventing area under paddy cultivation from shrinking further. The Government has put a proposal in this regard in cold storage, according to official sources.

The then Joint Director of Agriculture here sent the proposal to the Commissioner for Agriculture on May 11, 2011. Later, the office of the Deputy Commissioner wrote about the proposal to the Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, on June 11, 2011, the sources told The Hindu.

The sources said that the proposal sought Rs. 8.52 crore to the district for three years from 2013-12 to 2013-14 for implementing the Kerala model package for promoting paddy cultivation. The proposal recommended to the Government to create a five-member group of farmers in each gram panchayat for promoting paddy cultivation. As in Kerala, farmers in the district should be given between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 20,000 per hectare as incentive for taking up paddy cultivation.

The sources said that the proposal drew the attention of the Government to four components in the Kerala model. They were support for upland (rain-fed cultivation) rice production under food security project, scheme to cultivate paddy on fallow land by women's groups, sustainable development of paddy-based farming system and macro-management of agricultural work plan.

The proposal stated that under the food security project for upland paddy cultivation, each farmer should be given Rs. 5,000 per hectare as incentive. If women's groups cultivated paddy in fallow land, they should be given Rs. 10,000 as incentive. Women's groups should be given Rs. 5,000 per half acre for preparing paddy seedlings. For sustainable development of paddy-based farming system, farmers, who had discontinued paddy cultivation for over three years, should be given Rs. 5,000 per hectare to revive it.

The letter by the Joint Director stated that the Karnataka Development Programme Review Committee in the district at its two meetings on March 15, 2011 and on April 11, 2011 had resolved to urge the Government to declare the Kerala model package to the district. It stated that area under paddy cultivation in the district dwindled from 38,291 hectares in 1999-2000 to 32,408 hectares in 2010-11.

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