KERALA

Wadakkanchery's initiatives in paddy sector laudable: MLA

Block aims to attain self-sufficiency in food grain production

The Wadakkanchery block panchayat has set a successful role model for other civic bodies through its innovative projects for rejuvenating the paddy sector, A.C. Moideen, MLA, has said.

Addressing a State-level seminar on ‘Food security and Green Army', organised by the Kerala Institute of Local Administration at Ottupara, in Thrissur district, on Thursday, he said that the block panchayat's novel initiative in agriculture had evoked intense response. “The Green Army, the State's first skilled agricultural labour bank, formed by the block panchayat offered a solution to the acute labour shortage in the farm sector. The project increased food production by ensuring people's participation in farming,” he said.

The block panchayat succeeded in blending traditional farm wisdom with modern technology, he said.

The block panchayat formed the labour bank under GALASA (Group Approach for Locally-Adapted and Sustainable Agriculture) a few years ago when many farmers started opting out of farming owing to the high cost of cultivation and severe labour shortage.

The scientists of the Kerala Agricultural University trained the Green Army members in mechanised farming. Now besides the 400-strong Green Army, the block panchayat has a 100-member battalion of labourers trained in coconut tree climbing and a group of unskilled labourers.

Block panchayat president A. Padmanabhan hoped that Wadakkanchery would become the first block panchayat to be self-sufficient in food grains.

Fallow-land free

He said that the area of cultivation in the block panchayat had increased from about 3,000 hectares to 4,559 hectares in the last two years. “We want to make it a block panchayat without fallow land,” he said.

Convergence of various funds for the common goal of attaining food security was the success of the paddy development mission, Anoop Kishore, vice-president, Wadakkanchery block panchayat, said.

Agricultural experts interacted with farmers and shared their experiences.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran will attend the valedictory of the two-day seminar on Friday.

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