Staff Correspondent

`Tertiary sector needs to be developed'

Farmers urged to grow flowers and fruits to augment their incomeHorticulture Department asked to promote export of jasmineMore people should be absorbed into tertiary sector, says Minister

UDUPI: Minister for Medical Education and Animal Husbandry V.S. Acharya said here on Sunday that focusing on horticultural crops and the tertiary sector is the key to the development of coastal districts. He was speaking after inaugurating a district-level awareness camp on the activities of the National Horticulture Board organised by the Department of Horticulture. Dr. Acharya said that about 30 years ago, the undivided Dakshina Kannada district was among the top 50 districts in the country in the production of paddy. However, owing to dependence on rain and because it is labour-intensive, paddy cultivation has become unviable. Therefore, many farmers took to cultivation of horticultural crops such as coconuts and arecanut. However, even these crops were affected in the price crash. When the Brahmavar Sugar Factory came up farmers took to cultivation of sugarcane, but as the factory is facing problems, farmers were forced to give this up. He said officials of the Horticulture Department should encourage people to grow flowers, vegetables and fruits along with horticulture crops. The department should also take steps to promote export of jasmine from Shankarpura, for which there is a demand in the Gulf. The Regional Research Station at Brahmavar, affiliated to the agricultural university in Bangalore, should provide information to farmers on the latest developments in agriculture. He said nearly 57 per cent of people in the district are dependant on agriculture, and added that this should be brought down to 35 per cent. While it is necessary to encourage employment in the tertiary sector, agriculture should not be completely abandoned, he added. K. Raghupati Bhat, MLA; President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat B.N. Shankar Poojary; Joint Director of the Department of Horticulture D.L. Maheshwar; and zilla panchayat member Kota Srinivasa Poojary were present.