Kerala trying to ensure self-sufficiency in cultivation and safe, healthy food: CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that the state was moving towards ensuring self-sufficiency in food cultivation which was safe and healthy for human consumption through its 'Subhiksham Surakshitam' project -- an organic farming initiative of the government.

The CM, in a Facebook video, said that under the project 84,000 hectares of land in the 14 districts of the state was targeted for implementing organic farming by the end of this year and in the first 100 days of the present regime the aim was to achieve organic farming in 5,000 hectares of land.

However, till date the government has been able to ensure cultivation of vegetables, paddy, bananas and tubers in nearly 24,000 hectares of land in the 14 districts of the state, he said while virtually inaugurating the harvest of organic farming produce from 5,000 hectares of land.

The CM said the Subhiksham Surakshitam project was envisaged in the backdrop of the state's past and continuing experiences with regard to use of harmful pesticides and the food shortage faced during the COVID-19 pandemic when supplies from other states were hit.

He said the state had to depend on other states for its food needs due to an increase in commercial farming practices and resultant shortage in land for the cultivation of paddy, fruits and vegetables.

He said that in the past the state was able to meet its food needs from the cultivation here.

Besides ensuring self-sufficiency in food and safe and healthy grains, fruits and vegetables, the project also ensured employment for people both directly and indirectly and a welfare board for farmers was also set up as a part of it -- a first in the country, he said.

He further said that under the project, the land under cultivation was enhanced significantly since 2016 and storage capacity, as well as pricing of the cultivated products, was also increased.

However, one of the challenges being faced by the government in its endeavour to increase organic cultivation in the state was the climate change and resultant natural disasters like floods, he said.

To address this challenge, we need to be able to predict the climate changes so that we can prepare a calendar for farming and that can be achieved only with the help of science, the CM said.

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