KOTTAYAM: In what appears to be the culmination of one of the first initiatives of the state Agriculture Department after the LDF Government assumed office in 2016, the Methran Kayal brand rice hit the market on Thursday. Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar, who took the mantle to bring paddy farming back in the Methran Kayal polders, where paddy cultivation had given way for tourism development, launched the Methran Kayal rice at a function here.
He handed over a rice packet, weighing 10 kg, to M K Karunakaran, the seniormost paddy farmer in Methran Kayal. For many, this was a realisation of their dreams and a decade-long struggle to retain paddy farming in this polder, sprawled over 403 acres. Paddy was cultivated in the Methran Kayal fields in November last year after a gap of eight years, following the stringent stand taken by the Agriculture Department, especially Sunil Kumar.
After the harvest commenced in April this year, Supplyco procured a total of 356.30 tonnes of paddy from the farmers here and handed it over to the government-run Oil Palm India to introduce it in the market under the brand Methran Kayal rice. The Modern Mills of Oil Palm India was entrusted with the target. According to Oil Palm authorities, they could make around 200 tonnes of rice from the paddy they received. A 10 kg packet of Methran rice will be available from Oil Palm outlets for Rs 450 from Thursday.
Paddy price will be given to farmers after procurement: MinSunilkumar said the state government has taken steps to hand over the price of paddy to farmers soon after its procurement. He was speaking after launching the Methran Kayal brand rice. He said the government will soon procure the entire paddy from farmers across the state through Supplyco. “The price of paddy will be given to farmers through banks.
The government has already signed a memorandum of understanding with some banks, including cooperative banks, in this regard. This initiative has been taken in the wake of the inordinate delay in the distribution of paddy price,” he said. He added the government has given strict directives to the officers in the Agriculture Department to include all farmers in the crop insurance programme of the government.
“As many as 25 crops can be insured in the scheme to be launched on July 1,” he said. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan MLA presided over the function. K Suresh Kurup MLA, District Collector C A Latha, district panchayat president Zacharias Kuthiraveli and others also spoke.