THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Horticultural Mission would spend Rs 85 crore in this financial year for increasing the quantity of agriculture produce, producing quality seeds and encouraging organic farming in the state.
Following the Union Government directive, the projects would be implemented in the public as well as private sector. The Mission would give around 50 percent subsidy for implementing the projects.
Mission director K Prathapan said that the Union Government had given in principle approval for the projects submitted by Kerala. Group farming would be promoted in Kerala to ensure that rare varieties are grown in one area and it is marketed easily.
“Hybrid seeds would be produced through the Agriculture Department and universities. This would also be done through the NGOs, individuals and self help groups who would be given Rs 50,000 as subsidy for one hectare of land,” Prathapan said.
The high quality seeds would be bought by the Mission and processed to be sold in the market. With the production of quality seeds, each centre, where the seeds are produced, would become crop-based profit centres.
Tissue culture labs would come up in selected areas for the production of tissue culture bananas.
These bananas would be scientifically processed and a portion of it would be exported to European countries.
“It is a first of its kind attempt in Kerala to produce tissue culture bananas. 40 to 50 kilogram bananas could be produced from each plant. This would be a buy back scheme and linked with marketing the products,” he said.
Honeybee farming in rubber plantations would also be given high priority as part of the Honey Mission project. Ten honeybee breeders would be appointed for supporting the farmers and Horticorp would be the nodal agency for implementing it.
He pointed out that the extra floral nectar from rubber trees are converted into honey by the bees. There is great scope for bee keeping which would benefit the farmers by branding the product and marketing it.
Organic farming is planned in 2,500 acres of land in Kasargod. Usage of chemicals would be minimised and new technologies would be used for pest control.