A high-level conference on the Kuttanad Package, attended by agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, on Friday decided that Kuttanad should be declared as a global agriculture heritage zone. The objective will be the promotion of sustainable agriculture with protection of environment.

Dr. Swaminathan told the media that the Food and Agriculture Organisation recognised globally important agriculture systems and proposals would be put up for that. Farming was being practised about four metres below the water level in Kuttanad for about 150 years. The declaration of the area as a heritage zone would be a recognition to the outstanding achievements of farmers of Kuttanad.

Announcing the decisions of the conference, Finance Minister K.M. Mani said earthen bunds were most suitable for Kerala. However, there would be no rigid approach in the matter. Where bunds were vulnerable to waves or heavy flow, pile and slab system or masonry could be tried. The polder committees would take suitable decisions in this regard.

He said the conference had decided that a senior government officer should be appointed as chief executive officer to implement the package. The next meeting of the Cabinet would take the needed decisions. A sum of Rs.700 crore had already been sanctioned for irrigation works under the package. The work needed to be carried out quickly and in a transparent manner. The Cabinet would take necessary decisions to ensure early completion of the work.

Mr. Mani said the work on the Changanassery-Alappuzha canal would be completed in two phases.

More In: Today's Paper