The high profit between Rs.75,000 to Rs.1.5 lakh annually from one acre of cultivation of plantain, chilli, tomato, cucumber, brinjal and capsicum has lured large number of farmers to switch over to high-tech precision agriculture or farming in the State particularly in Chittur taluk of the District.
Now nearly 1000 farmers have taken up precision agriculture in the State and 700 of them are in Palakkad district.
In Chittur 10 Kudumbasree units had taken up precision agriculture.
Perumatty and Pattancherry Grama Panchayats have submitted Rs.1.75 crore projects under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana for this novel scheme.
The objective of precision agriculture is the optimization of input use to facilitate maximum output helping to save valuable resources like water and energy.
It helps reduction of manpower thus bringing down cost of production.
It applied the right amount of input in the right place and at right time benefitting crops, soil and ground water and the entire crop cycle.
It is a modern method of farming that takes adequate care of technology upgradation and marketing support to farmers.
K. Krishnankutty, President, Perumatty Service Co-operative Bank, pioneers in precision agriculture in Chittur said that they had learned about the project from Tamilnadu Agriculture University in Coimbatore who trained the farmers in Chittur.
They implemented the project successfully in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts
of Tamilnadu where thousands of farmers have taken up precision agriculture since 2004, he said.
Another precision agriculturist M. Mohanan of Pamkulambu Kalam of Chittur told `The Hindu’ here on Thursday that he is doing plantain cultivation of (G-9 Israel variety) in two acres of land for the last three years.
He completed the third harvest during this season and planning to replant the area with plantain.
Mr. Mohanan said that one bunch of plantain weighed 30 to 35 kgs and there were 2000 saplings.
“I received a net profit of Rs.75,000 annually from plantain cultivation where as from one acre of paddy cultivation I got just Rs.20,000. Chilli cultivation is more profitable. From one acre cultivation of hybrid Zera variety last year I received a profit of Rs.1 lakh. I sold chilly at Rs.15 per kgs. but the shops sold it at Rs.40 per kg”, he said.
“For trip irrigation facility for precision agriculture the Kerala Horticulture Mission gives 90 per cent subsidy. Thus I switched over to the more profitable precision agriculture,” Mr. Mohan said.
Thus the high-tech farming started four year’s back in the District is getting popular with Kudumasree units and Grama Panchayats from different parts of State showing interest to take up cultivation, particularly vegetables, due to its high productivity and good profit.
Nearly 1000 farmers have registered with Kerala Fruits and Vegetable Promotion Council and other agencies in Chittur taluk alone to take up vegetable cultivation starting in July-August season.
Some farmers in Kollam and Alappuzha districts have also taken up precision farming. Farmers’ clusters are formed to take up vegetable cultivation in large scale for selling it within the State and also for exporting, said Kerala Horticulture Mission officials.