Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran said here on Tuesday that Kerala Agricultural University should study and analyse the impact of climate change on agriculture and help farmers in the State overcome it by providing technical solutions.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of the Integrated Biotechnology Building to be built at a cost of Rs.1.9 crore at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani.

“The State government will extend all possible support to enhance the academic and infrastructural facilities at the agricultural university. However, the university, in turn, must make use of this to support and provide technical assistance to the farmers of our State,” Mr. Ratnakaran said.

Shashi Tharoor, MP, inaugurated the vegetable seed laboratory, built at a cost of Rs.1.25-crore, at the college. George Mercier, MLA, inaugurated the bio-control laboratory that cost Rs.50 lakh. A mushroom spawn production centre is being set up at the college at a cost of Rs.20 lakh.

Dr. Tharoor said he would request the Union government and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to provide funds to the university for innovative research projects.

“We have a strong commitment across party lines towards this institution. Agriculture should be beyond politics. It belongs to all,” he said.

K. Dinesh Babu, executive committee member of the university, launched four Rashrtiya Krishi Vigyan Yojana projects — participatory integrated management of fruit flies; boosting of vegetable production; elite planting material production; and a centre for organic farming.

P.V. Ravindran, executive committee member of the university, launched 11 courses, such as those in mushroom cultivation and agricultural journalism, and a finishing school for Vocational Higher Secondary Education certificate holders. He launched the college web site.

Vice-Chancellor K.R. Viswambharan presided over the function. K. Harikrishnan Nair, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture; and K. Prathapan, Director, State Horticulture Mission; were present.