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Kerala plans big for farm sector

New nursery law, making Krishi Bhavans smart among proposals, says Governor

Inclusion of more crops in the base price programme, a new nursery law, and a proposal for making Krishi Bhavans ‘smart’ are among the farm sector highlights in Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s policy address on Friday.

The State government intends to list more agricultural crops in the base price programme, the Governor said. Base prices were introduced for 16 vegetables, fruits and tubers on November 1, 2020, to protect the farmers from price fluctuations in the market.

The prices were derived by calculating the production cost plus 20% on the basis of a study by the State Agricultural Prices Board. Mr. Khan announced the government’s intention to enhance the base prices every year.

Mr. Khan said a new nursery law would be enacted to ensure the quality of planting materials supplied to farmers. The government intended to double the production of planting materials during the next five years. The planting materials would be supplied to the farmers through an online portal.

All Krishi Bhavans in the State would evolve into smart Krishi Bhavans. The government also aimed to establish a ‘nutrition garden’ for improving and creating awareness about public health, the Governor said.

Value-addition initiatives would be strengthened to increase farmers’ income by 50% in the next five years. The production of vegetables also would be increased as part of the efforts to achieve self-sufficiency. To achieve this target, research findings from the Kerala Agricultural University and allied sector institutions would be fully utilised, Mr. Khan said. For enhancing paddy production, the government also intended to form block-level monitoring committees. The possibilities in ‘urban farming’ also would be explored, according to the policy address.

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