Procurement will start by March or April next year: Minister

Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan has said that virgin coconuts produced across the State will be procured through Krishi Bhavan.

He was inaugurating a district panchayat development seminar at the district panchayat conference hall here on Saturday. The procurement will start by March or April next year, the work for which had already started.

Shortage in the number of coconut pluckers would be met by absorbing workers of the Krishi Bhavan for the same. The expense of the project which would utilise mechanisation procedures would be borne by the government. The project would be carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Kerala Kerakarshaka Sahakarana Federation (Kerafed), for which copra driers would be established, the Minister said.

Maintaining that value-added products out of coconut is what the project aims at, Mr. Mohanan said this would also ensure price stability.

The production cost plus 50 per cent of the total cost had been decided as the final price of the product.

The production of Neera from tender coconut was another part of the project, he said adding that the drink would be made available in the market after obtaining permission from the Excise Department.

The Minister said a project titled Jawaharlal Nehru Heritage Agricultural Farm had been prepared in connection with the Karimbath farm tourism, for which an amount would be sanctioned by the Central Department of Agriculture.

The farms of Aanakkayam, Aluva, and Pandalam also came under the purview of the project. If adverse situations prevailed in the previous years with regard to utilising the Central fund for farming sector, it had been successfully utilised last year, Mr. Mohanan said.

The agriculture sector had been sanctioned Rs.1,287 crore by the Centre for this year which is up by Rs.487 crore from the previous year, the Minister said urging three-tier panchayats to work towards linking the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) with the agriculture sector.

District panchayat president K.A. Sarala presided over the function. Development standing committee chairman A.P. Sujatha presented a draft project at the seminar.

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