The government is planning to set up special agricultural zones in Wayanad, Attappady and Idukki to promote the cultivation of indigenous varieties of crops like vegetables, pulses, grains and tubers.
Addressing a meet-the-press programme here on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said the proposal was aimed at restoring the diversity of native crops that had lost out to exotic varieties from neighbouring States.
Mr. Kumar said the government would formulate an organic farming policy and popularise Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to ensure quality of produce and create new market opportunities. The policy, he said, would be aimed at phased eradication of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, to make Kerala a fully organic State.
Highlighting the need to step up the domestic production of vegetables, he said plans were afoot to popularise miniature polyhouses for household level cultivation. The government would also hold talks with neighbouring States to ensure the supply of pesticide- free vegetables.
Mr. Kumar said steps had been initiated to clear the dues to farmers for procurement of paddy and coconut. The government had decided to issue compensation for crop loss within 48 hours.
Mr. Kumar said an action plan would be implemented to revive paddy farming. An additional 2,500 hectares would be brought under paddy farming in six months. The area would be extended to another 1,00,000 hectares over 4.5 years. Mr.K umar said the Kuttanad package and the Thrissur- Ponnani kole land project would be revived.
Databank on fields
The databank on paddy fields and wetlands would be completed in six months. Strong action would be taken against illegal conversion of paddy land after the enactment of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008, he said.