THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The capital might be contesting for a ‘Metro’ rank, but the title could well diminish its paddyfields and let its greens vanish forever. The Local Fund Audit Report of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation for 2010-11 shares the concern and points out that despite rooftop farming receiving a warm welcome in the city, agriculture has, in general, received a setback in the suburbs lately, with none of the agricultural projects meeting their objective.
The many projects conceived by the Corporation during the 2007-12 period to encourage coconut and paddy cultivation and to bring women to agriculture have met with lukewarm response. The infrastructure of Krishi Bhavans is deplorable. Except in the Thiruvallom, Nemom and Vizhinjam agricultural offices, none of the others in the total 11 offices have the infrastructural facility to store seeds and seedlings. At Sreekariyam, the seeds and other items are stored in farmers’ houses. The farming equipments are getting rusted owing to non-use at many places.
Of the total 38 hectares of agricultural land, 25 hectares are in Nemom zone. In Kazhakkoottam zonal office, there are no documents that could provide an insight into the total land under cultivation or the number of paddyfields in places under the zone. In the absence of a proper database, no proper planning or allocation has happened.
In Sreekariyam, 348.75 hectares have been landfilled for cultivation, while in Nemom it is 50 cents. In the last two years, two acres of land under the Kazhakkoottam zonal office have been converted for other purposes. Except a few zones, many of them have not prepared wetland conservation plans which guide agricultural initiatives in local bodies.
There are no irrigation projects for cultivation in the city limits. Though a total of ` 1.19 crore has been spent on coconut farming during the last two years, it has not yielded much results. Only the Krishi Bhavan under Kudappanakkunnu zone has prepared a project for soil conservation. However, vegetable, flower, mushroom and plantain cultivation have improved in the capital, says the audit report.
The report recommends that the Corporation should take steps to initiate the e-krishi project in the capital. A lot of migrant labourers have made the city their home and if ten per cent among them are utilised for agricultural jobs, a big change could be brought in. The Corporation must conceive agricultural projects with a long-term vision, says the report.