The Union government is coming up with irrigation schemes costing Rs. 2.1-lakh crore for 16 million hectares of agriculture land. K. V. Thomas, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, said this on Friday after inaugurating Haritholsavam, the national-level agri-horticulture festival at the Nettoor market near here.
However, Prof. Thomas lamented that the State has a poor track record of falling behind in completing projects on time. The government is also planning to modernise fishing harbours in collaboration with the State government, with 75 per cent contribution coming from the Centre. The Thoppumpady harbour would be modernised under a Rs. 10-crore project, he said.
The government will also give thrust to agriculture in rain-fed areas as agriculture is heavily dependent on the monsoons. Andhra Pradesh is among the States where rainwater is harvested quite resourcefully, he said. A lot of new technology is being used in that State for agriculture.
About 80 participants from across the country have set up stalls at the four-day festival that will conclude on Monday. Agriculture promotion plans, food processing technologies, seeds of local varieties and ethnic agricultural products are on display. There are different types of apples and capsicum from Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, varieties of potatoes, brinjals, ladies finger, sapota and processed foods from Goa and agriculture produce from the North-Eastern States.
The agriculture wholesale market in Nettoor, built with European Economic Community aid on 42 acres of land, is the venue of the first ever such festival in the State. Such festivals are usually held in Delhi’s Pragathi Maidan.
C.M. Dinesh Mani, MLA, presided over the inaugural function. K.P. Dhanapalan, MP, delivered the keynote address.
P. Rajeev, MP; K. Babu, MLA; K. Jayakumar, Agriculture Production Commissioner; T. P. Antony Master, block panchayat president and K.A. Devassy, Maradu panchayat president, were among those who spoke.
Earlier, C.V. Ananda Bose, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture, welcomed the gathering.
District Collector M. Beena proposed a vote of thanks.