Farm crisis will impact families: Ratnakaran
Says investments in farm sector have been declining Calls for cluster-level initiatives to revive agricultural practices
KANNUR: Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran has called for collective initiatives of women for saving the agriculture sector from its present crisis.
Addressing members of women's self-help groups involved in agricultural activities in the district at a function in connection with the exhibition of their produces here on Thursday, the Minister said the crisis in the agricultural sector would have its impact on families. Women, therefore, should take the initiatives for tiding over the crisis, he said.
Referring to Union Minister for Finance P. Chidambaram's statement that the service and trade sectors in the country were booming, Mr. Ratnakaran said that these sectors could not survive for long with the agriculture sector in deep crisis.
Market would not be active with a small minority of people with purchasing power, he said. People in villages should have purchasing power for the growth of all sectors, he said.
Stating that investments in the agriculture sector in the country had been declining over the last 10 to 15 years, he said the next Union Budget was expected to amend this. The agriculture could only be saved with more allocation, he said.
The Minister said a situation should emerge where it would be a shame to leave cultivable land fallow in the State. Paddy cultivation in an area played a major role as a source of its ground water. Stating that agriculture was closely linked with the family system in the State, Mr. Ratnakaran called for cluster-level initiatives of women to revive agricultural practices.
The State could save Rs.600 crore every year, if it was able to cultivate vegetables to meet its requirements, he said.
The cluster-level approach for cultivating vegetables and medicinal plants would also help the groups to mobilise investments for the initiative, he said. The Government-controlled agencies would take care of marketing the produces.
Earlier, district panchayat president K.K. Narayanan inaugurated the function.