Kerala

Good times ahead for Kuttanad?

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Sunil Kumar promises to look into the possibility of reviving the Package

The visit of Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar to Kuttanad on Tuesday has brought fresh hope among paddy farmers in Kuttanad.

Several perennial issues facing the farming community are sought to be addressed by the Agriculture Department in the coming days. Strengthening of bunds, providing timely financial support to farmers, and extending the area under cultivation are among the programmes mooted by the department.

Bund strengthening

Strength of bunds protecting paddy fields is of much importance for sustained paddy farming in Kuttanad. The Minister has promised to take measures to ensure strength of the bunds. Breach of bunds at Kuppapuram last week had affected pre-farming activity in hundreds of acres.

Mr. Sunil Kumar has promised to look into the possibility of revival of the Kuttanad Package. Though the farmers had high hopes on the package, several projects envisaged under the package failed to materialise. Lack of coordination among various departments has been cited as the major reason for the non-realisation of a host of proposals.

In fact, farmers have been demanding the formation of a unified agency to sort out the problems faced by them.

Fallow land farming

The farmers have to deal with departments such as Revenue, Irrigation, Electricity, Food and Civil Supplies and it needs much time and effort to get things done, according to Thomas Peelianikkal, executive director, Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy.

The Agriculture Department is also planning to take up farming in fallow lands. About one lakh hectares of fallow land is reported to be available in the State. The government is planning to launch farming operations there with the help of local communities as well as non-government organisations.

The Kuttanad farmers are facing a host of problems such as lack of drinking water and pollution of waterbodies. Assured drinking water remains a dream for many people in Alappuzha, Cherthala, Kuttanad and other areas which are actually surrounded by waterbodies.

Climate change is a matter of serious concern to farmers. It could harm crops and reduce productivity, M.S. Swaminathan, renowned agriculture scientist, had said at a meeting here recently when the international research and training centre on below sea level farming was launched. Experts are of the view that sustained efforts by the government could go a long way in ameliorating farmers’ problems while helping increase the yield.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:14:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Good-times-ahead-for-Kuttanad/article14424816.ece

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