THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Here is good news for agriculturists in the state. Soon, farmer welfare activities will come under a single umbrella. In this regard, the state government will constitute a Farmers’ Welfare Board this year.
Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar told Express the Government had already taken a decision in principle and an Ordinance will be issued soon. “The modalities on the functioning of the board have to be worked out,” he said. “Once it comes into existence, all welfare measures like farmers’ pension can be implemented through the board.”
“To ensure their welfare, farmers’ pension was raised from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000 from June 1, 2016. As all other welfare pensions being implemented have been unified at Rs 1,100, farmers’ pension will also be increased,” the minister said.
Social auditing from this year
The minister said the Agriculture Department will introduce social audits this year to bring in more transparency.Sunil Kumar said the government is planning to revive the Neera production unit at Aralam farm under the Kerala State Coconut Development Corporation. With technical support from the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, sugar and jaggery will be produced from Neera. Steps have been initiated in this regard to provide employment to the workers and their family members at the farm, he said.
The government is also focusing on reviving coconut farming, the minister said. As part of supporting farmers, 36,900 tonnes of coconut worth `92 crore were procured.
Vigilance squad to keep tabs on banned pesticides
The department has set up special vigilance squads to curb smuggling of banned pesticides from neighbouring states. As much as 2.5 tonnes of toxic contraband, including Carbofuran, were seized, the minister said.