Alappuzha: Agriculture minister V.S. Sunilkumar on Thursday said that Kerala offered the highest minimum support price (MSP) for paddy farmers in India.
“The government has decided to hike MSP to Rs 26.30 per kg. This not charity but the right of farmers,” he said inaugurating a two-day workshop “Eco-friendly Kuttanad” on farming techniques at Rice Research Station here.
“Of this, Centre contributed Rs 17.30. In the case of flood relief too, paddy farmers had got the best share — Rs 13,500 for crop loss and Rs 12,200 for silt treatment per hectare. For this, Rs 35 crore was appr-oved the other day. Seeds were given free of cost.”
He said that the government would study the concerns of farming in Kuttanad in great detail and introduce better farming techniques.
“The farming calendar will strictly be implemented. The flood hit Kuttanad at a time when a high density of acidity had been found in the soil of paddy fields due to climate change and unscientific farming techniques. Post-flood, the soil changed a lot. Production of rice has gone up from five tonnes to eight. The level of bio-carbon in the soil went up by 3.5 per cent from 1.5. Scientific use of fertilisers and pesticides is important. It was a great achievement to make surplus productivity of rice worth Rs 125 crore in this puncha season possible. The government is aiming at reducing the usage of pesticides in phases," he said assuring to consult all farmers on Rs 1,000-crore second Kuttanad package.
District panchayat president G. Venugopal presided over the function. State Planning Board vice-chairman Dr V.K. Ramachandran, Kuttanad Development Agency vice-chairman Joykutty Jose and director of agriculture P.K. Jayasree participated....