KOCHI:Paucity of cultivable land is a major issue in Kerala but the state seemed to be catching on with an organic farming revolution with 13,519.3 hectares of land already under organic farming and 10,972. 6 hectares under conversion for organic farming.
As per the latest data with Union Agriculture Ministry, Kerala has 619 farmer clusters which have taken up organic farming and is ahead of Karnataka with 545 clusters and Tamil Nadu 112 clusters.It’s also surprising to note that the 619 farmer clusters have covered an area of 12,380 hectares while Karnataka has only 10,900 hectares and Tamil Nadu 2240 hectares under organic farming.The data also shows that 30,950 farmers in Kerala have benefitted from Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) scheme between 2015 and 2018 and received Rs 50,000 per hectare.
State Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said the growth in organic farmland is a trend fuelled by various initiatives of the state government.“There has been drastic increase in organic vegetables produce in the state. Nearly 93 per cent of vegetable farmed in the state is pesticide free,” the minister said.As per Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the total organic produce stood at 11.801 lakh tonnes in 2016-17.
“Kerala is going to focus more on organic farming programs in the next few years as more farmers have started the transition process to organic,” Sunil Kumar said.“When it comes to promoting sustainable agriculture and its related environmental benefits, the state has to look more for cost-effective farming practices. We will be giving impetus to organic zero budget natural farming. Several programmes will be launched on avoiding GMOs or reining in the amount of toxic agrochemicals getting into our land and water,” he said.