Polyhouse farming: Expert groups to assist farmers
By Byju Aryad | ENS | Published: 19th May 2013 10:14 AM |
When hi-tech polyhouse farming units are being installed in various parts of the state, the State Horticulture Mission is on an effort to provide bio-control measures and supply organic inputs with the help of retired agriculture officers and those who have completed vocational higher secondary agri courses.
Already 40 polyhouses have come up in the state and another 480 are nearing completion. For the technology input, an Expression of Interest (EOI) will be invited by the Kerala Horticulture Mission and a panel of experts will be made available to support the farmers.
Kerala Horticulture Mission director K Prathapan said that all efforts will be taken to complete the project by the end of this year. Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan is monitoring the project regularly to make it a big success in the state, where the people could be provided with bio vegetables cultivated using organic material, avoiding any kind of fertilisers. “An expert group will be formed in each district in the state, which will guide the farmers about diseases and improving crop yield. Immediate attention will be needed if diseases are detected and the issue will be attended by experts on the day of registering the complaint,” Prathapan said.
Retired agriculture officers and those who had completed agriculture courses would be given training on polyhouse agriculture techniques.
The names, phone numbers and details of those who can help the farmers will be published on the website and will also be given to the farmers. According to Prathapan, there will be some delay in completing the project in some areas as the agencies entrusted with the work cannot carry out all the works at a time. However, the bulk production of vegetables from the polyhouse is expected by September this year. Though the Horticulture Mission had given sanction for 1,115 polyhouses in the state, some of them had withdrawn from implementing the project.
In the long run, this project would be more effective when the project becomes breakeven within three crop seasons and more farmers come forward for vegetable cultivation. “To popularise the products from polyhouses, eco shops would be opened in all the districts where safe to eat vegetables will be made available in the brand name ‘Amrit’. The technology developed by the Kerala State Remote Sensing Agency will make available the details on a website which includes farm, farmers, products, date of sowing, present status of the crop and when the yield could be marketed so that vegetables can be taken from one place to another where there will be shortage,” Prathapan said. Commenting on the 25 per cent share of the total project cost to be met by the beneficiary, he said that some of the banks had already given the nod to provide the money at a base interest.
The total cost of erecting one polyhouse comes to around Rs 3.75 lakh and 75 per cent of the amount will be given as subsidy. A person having 20 cents of land can start hi-tech farming where the polyhouse will come up in 10 cents of land and the rest of the land for supporting the cultivation.