Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan said here on Monday that the government was committed to carry forward the organic farming policy brought by the previous government.

Addressing a press conference after assuming charge as Minister, Mr. Mohanan said organic pesticides would be promoted in lieu of chemical pesticides. The government had ordered strong measures to seize stocks of endosulfan found anywhere in the State.

Agriculture Production Commissioner K. Jayakumar, who was with the Minister, said the Kerala Agriculture University had already revised the package of practices suggesting alternatives to banned pesticides. Technology would be sought for disposal of stocks of endosulfan in possession of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala.

Decontamination of soil would be incorporated into the package for relief and rehabilitation of endosulfan victims.

The Minister said the government would take up an initiative to introduce new technologies into the agriculture sector, especially in Malabar area. An Agriculture Research and Training Institute would be set up at Koothuparamba. Steps would be taken to attract youth into agriculture.

He said that though the previous government had taken up good projects in the sector; the benefit had not often reached the farmers.

This would be corrected. More than productivity, marketing was a problem in the sector. This would be addressed.

Mr. Jayakumar said the State Planning Board’s recommendations on the pension scheme for farmers implemented when Congress leader P.P. George was the Agriculture Minister would be submitted to the government for decision. The scheme had been in limbo and the previous government had not taken a decision on its revival. Either the scheme was to be revived or the contributions collected from the farmers returned to them.