Staff Reporter

Focus on organic farming, says Joseph

KANNUR: Kerala Congress (Joseph) leader P.J. Joseph has called for investments in agriculture and agro-based industries to create more job opportunities in the State.

Inaugurating the district convention of the party here on Wednesday,

Mr. Joseph said that a new development strategy that ensured effective use of the State's resources, including land and water, could provide job opportunities for hundreds of jobless youth.

``Technoparks and Smart Cities cannot be an answer to the problem of unemployment in the State,'' he said adding that the problem could be solved by utilising agricultural potential of the State.

Annual revenue

The State was estimated to have 50 lakh hectares of agricultural land and the present annual revenue to the tune of Rs.10,000 per hectare should be enhanced to Rs.1 lakh by increasing agricultural productivity, he said.

The productivity could be increased in an estimated 35,000 hectares of agricultural land in the State, he said.

Reiterating the importance of organic farming, he said that investment in agriculture was expected to provide 35 lakh job opportunities over a period of 10 years.

"Kerala should have an agricultural strategy that includes post-harvest operations," he said.

Each household in the State should be self-sufficient as far as vegetable cultivation was concerned, Mr. Joseph said.

New strategy

The former Minister said that changes were inevitable in the education sector to ensure that education reflected the new development strategy for utilising land and water resources.

Developments in science and technology should be applied for enhancing agricultural productivity, he said adding that rural technologies could also be applied. The greatest challenge was how to produce value-added products from the resources available here, he said.

Mr. Joseph said the Left Democratic Front Government was going ahead with various programmes to create employment in the State. More efforts had to be taken to ensure a corruption-free State, he said. Party district president Mathew Kunnapally presided over the function.