Special Correspondent

KANNUR: Pepper production during this financial year is estimated to be 20 per cent more than the previous year’s at the Pepper Research Station (PRS) at Panniyur here, thanks to the timely execution of agricultural activities such as land development, soil and water conservation and inter-cropping under the National Rural Employees Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) of the Kurumathur panchayat.

About 4,500 mandays were engaged at the PRS for various developmental activities till now, according to PRS officials.

Instead of using the labour force for infrastructure development works, they were utilised only for production programmes at the PRS, the officials said.

Diversified activities were proposed for the coming years, including cultivation of medicinal plants; inter-cropping with banana, tubers, vegetables, turmeric and ginger; terracing in other blocks to increase the productivity of the farm through the National Resource Management in a sustained way and providing maximum opportunities to the labour force of the NREGS, they said.

Terracing work

As the PRS was facing labour shortage, the productivity of its farm could be increased to many fold by effectively utilising the work force under the NREGS.

One of the most important activities taken up as part of the NREGS in the station was the terracing work in blocks 11 and 20 of the station, the officials said.

Training programme

A seven-day training programme for farmers on scaling up of water technology in agriculture for livelihood and sustainability was conducted at the PRS. “Our aim is to introduce appropriate technology for maximising the efficiency of inputs like, soil, water, nutrients, agronomic practices, etc., so that the farmers will be able to diversify their existing farming procedures for improving quality and productivity and thereby the earnings,” said V.P. Neema, Professor and head of the PRS.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra head K. Abdul Kareem, Deputy Director of Agriculture V. Suresh and PRS Assistant Professors D. Jacob and K.P. Jayarajan were present at the inauguration of the training programme.