Kerala's first high-tech farming demonstration unit will be installed at Santhigiri Ashram, a press note quoted Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan as saying.

He was speaking after inaugurating ‘Krishi Mela,' an agriculture fair at the Santhigiri Fest 2012, which is being organised at Santhigiri Ashram in collaboration with State Department of Agriculture and State Horticultural Mission, the press note said.

The unit would help farmers acquaint themselves with modern mechanised farming techniques and to come to terms with the acute labour shortage in the sector. Green houses and poly houses, which can help farmers grow rare varieties of medicinal plants in controlled temperature, would be set up at the facility. There would also be demonstrations of precision-farming techniques which can help farmers achieve greater control over productivity by steps such as limiting fertilizer usage without putting the environment at risk, he said.

Mr. Mohanan said that the budget presented by Finance Minister K.M. Mani had given much prominence to the bio-farming and precision farming practices. The Minister added that the Agriculture Department would try to put Central funds to maximum use. The meeting held at Santhigiri Ashram Research Zone was presided over by Santhigiri Ashram Organizing Secretary Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi. Santhigiri Ashram Agriculture Department Head Swami Jyothiroopa Jnana Thapaswi and the Managing Director of the Kerala Livestock Development Board Ani S. Das were among those who were present.