Govt. opts for long-term route to switch over to organic farming
The government is embarking on a programme to bring down the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, under plans to enhance agricultural production and tap the export market. Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar told The Hindu here on Thursday that the government would prefer the long-term route to switch over to organic farming.
Outlining the government’s objective to make Kerala a pesticide-free State, the Minister said a research and development programme would be taken up by the Agriculture Department and Kerala Agricultural University. “Branded organic products would help us tap a greater share of the export market and fetch a higher price for our produce.” A project initiated by the previous UDF government to convert Kerala into a fully organic State by 2016 had been bogged down after the pilot phase was implemented in Kasaragod last year. The United Arab Emirates had recently imposed tighter controls on the import of mango, cucumber, and chilli peppers from India. The country has made it mandatory for Indian exporters to produce a pesticide residue analysis report for import of these items. The latest report of the pesticide residue analysis lab under the KAU has revealed that most of the vegetables sold through markets stalls in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, and Kasaragod pesticide residue-free.
While curry leaves, mint leaves, and coriander leaves showed pesticide residue higher than the safe level prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, sambar chilli and green chilli were found to contain pesticide residue lower than the safety limit.
V.S. Sunil Kumar says an R&D programme would be taken up
by the Agriculture Department and KAU.