THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has decided to intensify its activities under the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) to rejuvenate pokkali farming and add brand value to pokkali rice and fish, riding on the success of the Pokkali Farmers’ Easter Fish Market organised jointly by KVK-Ernakulam and the Kadamakudy grama panchayat, on Saturday.
The first step under the initiative is to set up a pokkali farmer producer company and nurture it so that it could conduct farming and market products on a commercial scale.
The KVK has already received funds from the NABARD, and is in the process of identifying prospective farmer partners to form the company. It will be one of the 2,000 farmer producer companies the Central Government is planning to establish across the country.
As part of the plan, the sales counter functioning at the CMFRI building near Marine Drive will be developed and re-located for sale of authentic safe-to-eat pokkali rice, fish and products.
Speaking after inaugurating the Farmers’ Fish Market, CMFRI director A Gopalakrishnan said it was unfortunate that pokkali farming was declining at a time when the state is supporting organic farming. “Moreover, produces cultivated under the pokkali farming system could be used for preparing some of the most favourite dishes of Keralites,” he said.
“Enhancing income from unit area and attracting young farmers to the sector by creating brand value are the only solutions. Agricultural scientists have been working to develop technologies to augment production. However, that may not be sufficient to solve farmers’ problems," he said..