The farmers in the State will get four more varieties of paddy for cultivation, Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar has said.
Inaugurating a new building complex at Kerala Agriculture University’s Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS) at Kumarakom, the Minister said that the lost glory of farm sector, which fed the entire population of the region, had to be regained. However, such objectives were becoming more complex in the face of challenges like global warming and climate change. The increasing salinity of water was also posing a major challenge.
The new varieties would help the farmer fight such challenges, he said. The new varieties were developed by the Kerala Agricultural University. They were now awaiting sanction from the Agriculture Department. He also stressed the need for restoring the biodiversity at the local level as a means to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
Fruit tree cultivation
“That’s why we have included fruit trees in the two crore saplings to be planted under the Haritha Keralam initiative,” he said. Crop diversification was another crucial component in this drive.
“The enviable genetic resources available with KAU can be an effective source for this,” he said.
The State government was thinking of constituting a Farmers’ Welfare Board to take care of the concerns of the farming community, he said. The Central government was retreating from critical areas that supported the farmers. However, the State government was committed to ensuring their well- being, he said.
“The farming community was taking care of the wellbeing of society and as such society had a responsibility to pay back.”
Mr. Sunil Kumar called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to put the agriculture sector back on rails. “We need close collaboration among farmers, agriculture universities, Agriculture Department, and the Central research and development institutions to attain the goals we have set for the agriculture sector,” he said. The Minister honoured former heads of RARS.
K. Suresh Kurup, MLA, presided. Jose K. Mani, MP, inaugurated the new sales counter.