Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran has said the State may have to change its agriculture calendar due to the change in the climate experienced now.

Inaugurating the seed processing centre of Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK) at Alathur near here on Saturday the Minister said the climate change and the destruction that followed showed that “the war between nature and man has started. This will destroy not only man but other life. We have to stop destroying nature and take up only those projects and programmes that will be in tune with nature and environment,’’ the Minister said.

He said the climate change has created problems like pest attack, experienced recently in Thrissur and other places.

Last year, Kerala lost 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy due to climate change, the Minister said.

He said the corporate giants who are promoting GM seeds are trying to exploit climate change and the agricultural production affected by it.

Now attempts are being made to cultivate GM brinjal in Kerala. This cannot be allowed because scientists like M.S. Swaminathan had warned that GM seeds should not be cultivated in bio-diversity hot spots like Kerala that lay on the lap of Western Ghats.

The Minister said that the government has taken steps to make the State self-sufficient in vegetable and fruit production by 2012. The required vegetable seeds will be produced in the new seed production centre of VFPCK inaugurated today.

Every year the State spent Rs. 500 crore for vegetable and fruits. If this is produced within the State the farmers will get this huge amount for their produce.

He said the government not only ensured the supply of quality seeds it will also take steps in marketing the produce.

There is also the problem of distance between the production centres and markets. For example, vegetables produced in huge quantity in the Eastern parts of Palakkad have to be marketed in distant places such as Ernakulam or Thrissur resulting in marketing problems. As a result, the government will intervene in marketing the produce of farmers, the Minister said.

He has also inaugurated the Seed Training Institute set up to impart suitable technical skills and knowledge, a pre-requisite for undertaking successful cultivation of high yielding varieties at the function.

Vegetable seed unit

Vegetable seeds of 20 different types of High Yielding Crops suitable to the Agro Climatic conditions of the State are produced by 104 trained Seed Growers under the technical guidance of the Seed Technologist, said VFPCK Director K. Parathapan.

The farmers who produced high quality seeds in huge quantity were honoured by K. E. Ismail, M.P.

The meeting was presided over by M. Chandran, M.L.A, and addressed by K.R. Viswambharan, Vice Chancellor, Kerala Agriculture University, V. Chamunny, Chairman, Kamco, N. Vijayan, Chief Executive Officer, VFPCK, among others.