In a bid to ensure food security and employment generation, Kerala today announced a Rs. 3,000 crores package for the revival of the agriculture sector. Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the government plans to spend Rs. 3,000 crores in the next one year to boost food production and revive agriculture. Out of this, Rs. 1,500 crores will be raised from the plan allocation of LSG bodies and various departments and the remaining Rs. 1,500 crores will be provided as loans from NABARD and the Co-operative Sector.
The agriculture department has come up with a massive programme to use the fallow land for farming from next month. The project will be implemented in all LSG bodies by utilising the wasteland in their areas. The aim of the Agriculture Department is to revitalize agriculture, increase the revenue of farmers, attract youths to farming, and also as a rehabilitation project for expatriates who have lost their jobs.
The Agriculture Department has prepared a draft plan and it has been decided to finalise the plan and start the implementation soon. The plan also envisages increasing livestock, milk and egg production, and aquaculture development. All local bodies will make necessary changes to the annual plan before May 15th for the implementation of this plan to include food security projects.
“If the owner of the land wants to cultivate the land, the government will support the owner. Otherwise, self-help groups or Kudumbasree or Panchayat-led committee can use the land for cultivation. Various departments like Animal Husbandry, Irrigation, Cooperation, Fisheries, Industries, SC & ST Welfare will be involved in this project to be coordinated by the Agriculture Department”, the Chief Minister added.
Short term and long term programmes are included in the plan. The short term plan is for crop yields in the next June and September. Creating and improving infrastructure for the people will come as part of the long term plan. Increased food production would also need better and new cold chain facilities.
As per the Agriculture Department, there are 1.09 lakh hectares of wasteland in the state. It is estimated that 1.4 lakh hectares can be used for intercropping. As farming spreads and production increases, new agricultural markets will be opened in villages and towns and would also explore digital marketing systems. There will be an emphasis on value-added products.
Minister of Health & Social Justice, Smt K K Shailaja; Revenue Minister, Shri E Chandrasekharan, and Chief Secretary, Shri Tom Jose IAS were also present during the media briefing.