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Pawar to launch coconut rejuvenation scheme

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DISEASE-HIT: A disease-affected coconut grove in Kollam district that will be replaced under the Coconut Development Board rejuvenation scheme.
DISEASE-HIT: A disease-affected coconut grove in Kollam district that will be replaced under the Coconut Development Board rejuvenation scheme.

Ignatius Pereira

KOLLAM: Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar will on December 6 inaugurate a scheme of the Coconut Development Board (CDB) for replanting and rejuvenation of coconut groves in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Thrissur. The scheme will be inaugurated at a function in Thrissur.

The Agriculture Department has completed an initial baseline survey in the three districts. The data prepared on the basis of the survey has been submitted to the CDB.

To begin with, the scheme will be implemented in three block panchayats each in the three districts by March 2010. These are Varkala, Attingal and Kazhakuttom in Thruvananthapuram district; Oachira, Karunagapally and Chavara in Kollam; and Chalakudi, Kodakara and Irinjalakuda in Thrissur. Five more block panchayats in each of the three districts will be covered in 2010-2011.

The scheme will be implemented at a cost of Rs.2,260 crore, with Union government subsidy of Rs. 474 crore. The prime aim of the scheme is the removal of old and unproductive palms to be followed by re-plantation.

To remove unproductive palms, farmers will receive a subsidy of Rs.500 each tree for the first 20 palms subject to a maximum of Rs. 13,000 a hectare. For adoption of integrated management practices for rejuvenation under the scheme, a subsidy of Rs. 15,000 a hectare will be provided. Assistance will be limited to four hectares for each farmer.

An area of 1.33 lakh hectares in the three districts has been identified for the rejuvenation programme. For re-planting, disease-tolerant tall seedlings from healthy mother palms identified in hot spot areas as per the recommendation of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) and disease-tolerant dwarfs and hybrids will be used.

Palms identified for removal will be those that yield less than 10 coconuts a year and these should be approved by the local agricultural officers. Cutting and removal of such palms will have to be completed in three months.

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