KOCHI: Kerala will become a complete organic farming state by 2016, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
He was delivering the presidential address at the Global Agro Meet at the Adlux Convention Centre at Karukutty near Angamaly on Thursday.
The Chief Minister said that organic farming had already started in Kasargod, and that Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad would also get the distinction soon. “In two years, Kerala will become a complete organic farming state,” he said. He urged youngsters to come forward and join the agriculture sector, and assured that the government would provide wholehearted support to them.
“The focus of the government is to provide safe and healthy food to the people. For this, special consideration will be given to the agriculture sector. Currently, the State produces 50 per cent of the vegetables it needs. Going forward, our target is to attain self-sufficiency in vegetable production,” Oommen Chandy pointed out.
He said that ‘Neera’ was the best example of successful value addition in the State’s agriculture sector.
“The limitations prevailing in the agriculture sector could be overcome by adopting better technology and processing methods. The government is making active intervention in the market to ensure price stability and to ensure better prices for the farmers. At present, six ‘agri’ wholesale markets are functioning in Kerala. We also plan to set up 1,000 green houses. As much as 80 per cent of them have already been completed,” the Chief Minister said.
Delivering the welcome speech, Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan said that safe-to-eat organic products, with a Kerala brand, would be promoted through innovative marketing programs, plans and strategies.
Netherlands Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga; ministers K Babu and Anoop Jacob; Innocent MP; and MLAs Jose Thettayil, T U Kuruvilla and Anwar Sadath also spoke. The two-day meet is being organised by the State Agricultural Department, in association with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The meet is being attended by around 1,000 industrialists from the agriculture sector, and over 100 foreign delegates. Over 10,000 agriculturists from the State are expected to attend the meet.