The Mannancherry Grama Panchayat, a quiet little region situated between Alappuzha and Cherthala on the Muhamma route, is on its way to be declared a village that will have no fallow land.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will make the declaration on April 3, panchayat president A. M. Haneef told a press conference here on Monday. The panchayat, he said, has 280 acres of kari fields and 300 acres of normal fields. As part of a project that began in 2005, the entire 580 acres were made cultivable, with the crop yield now being comparable to any other paddy field in the State, he said. About Rs.5 crore were spent for this from the panchayat’s own coffers.

The declaration, Mr. Haneef said, will be a grand affair, with the preparations to begin on Tuesday, when State Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran will inaugurate a project to encourage the cultivation of ‘Visakh’, a variety of paddy developed by the Paddy Mission, and which is suitable for household cultivation. The project is aimed at making everyone interested in agriculture.

A website, meetings of farmers with scientists, an agriculture photography contest, a film festival and a banner painting competition will be part of the pre-declaration activities, he said.

On April 3, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac will inaugurate a harvest festival while Mr. Pawar will make the declaration the same day evening. A seminar on Thanneermukkom Barrage and the environment will be held on April 4 while seminars on other issues will be held on various topics till April 7.

District Panchayat president R. Nazar, District Panchayat member R. Riyaz and others were present.

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