PALAKKAD: One can expect in the days to come people preferring Attappadi branded vegetables, fruits and other food items across Kerala markets produced absolutely in line with organic modes of farming. The Agricultural Department has embarked on a mission to make this a reality and there is also a plan to set up an Agro Service Centre in Attappadi to co-ordinate activities to make it come to fruition.
By making use of the unused farmlands in Attappadi, the Agriculture Department aims at large-scale farming and sell it in the Kerala market under Attappadi brand. The sole intention behind this is to make Adivasi people in Attappadi self-sufficient and put an end to the use of contaminated vegetables from the neighbouring states.
A proposal estimated at ` 19 crore has been sent to the Agriculture Department by the District Agriculture Department. It is learnt that the Central Government will bear ` 10 crore of the proposed estimate and the state ` 9 crore. A survey has already been conducted at the 192 Adivasi settlements in Attappadi by as many as 95 officers from Krishi Bhavans, 13 assistant agricultural officers and deputy directors of the Agricultural Department and a feasibility report was also submitted to the government.
The Agri Department aims at providing training on various methods of cultivation to thousands of unemployed Adivasi youth and other traditional Adivasi farmers to take up cultivation of traditional crops like ragi, pigeon-pea, millet, thina and other vegetables. “Even as the vegetables for Kerala market continue to be supplied by neighbouring states there is no limit to the use of chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers. Now the people in Kerala are aware of the harmful consequences of consuming such fruits and vegetables and have started opting for organic food items. Here comes the significance of organic farming,” said Shobhana K K, principal agricultural officer Palakkad.
She also said there are two reasons for selecting Attappadi region for the mission.
“The whole of Attappadi can be uplifted by making the Adivasi people self-sufficient on one side and on the other hand consumption of imported vegetables from neighbouring states can be put to an end,” added Shobhana. The plan is to make use of the thousands of acres in Attappadi to cultivate vegetables and other crops.
“Through the survey we have identified fertile lands lying idle without cultivation. The Adivasi people here used to cultivate ragi, pigeon-pea, millet and thina and these crops were the backbone of their health. However, due to various reasons they abandoned agriculture.
This has definitely impacted their lives in a negative way. Persuading the community to turn to agriculture can definitely improve their standard of living and help them meet their food requirements. Reviving agriculture can boost enthusiasm among tribal farmers and make them self-reliant,” said Shobhana.
She said this is the reason why they aim at cultivating these traditional crops through this project.