THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government is expecting crop failure on a massive scale this year on account of the acute drought situation, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said on Monday.
“As we enter December, 1000 hectares of farm land in Palakkad and Thrissur have already dried up. Many panchayats in Wayanad are faced with severe drought and crop loss,” the minister said, inaugurating the World Soil Day celebrations organised by the State Soil Survey and Soil Conservation Department.
The Kerala Agricultural University and the Soil Survey and Soil Conservation Department are examining the mass appearance of earthworms and large-scale fleeing of frogs in three panchayats in Wayanad, both apparent indicators of drought, he said. The study in Wayanad has also revealed the appearance of flora and fauna common to desert regions, he said.
In October, the State Government had declared all 14 districts of the state as drought-hit. The announcement was made by Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan in the Assembly.The Agriculture Department intends to equip all farmers in the state with soil health cards within five years, the Agriculture Minister said. The challenge before good agriculture management is ensuring profitability in farming with minimal impact on the environment, Planning Board Vice- Chairman V K Ramachandran said. Additionally, good management of soil health, Ramachandran said, was imperative to sustainable crop production.
A UN Food and Agriculture Organisation campaign, the World Soil Day is observed every year on December 5 to highlight the importance of soil in people’s daily lives. This year the theme is ‘Soils and Pulses, a Symbiosis for Life.’ Sunil Kumar released a postage stamp on the importance of soil issued by India Post.
K Muraleedharan MLA presided over the function. Mayor V K Prasanth, Soil Survey and Soil Conservation director J Justin Mohan, Agriculture Production Commissioner Raju Narayana Swami, Environment Department director Padma Mohanty and Agriculture director Biju Prabhakar spoke.