Kochi: The Kerala State Planning Board has called for the creation of special agricultural zones to boost income from a variety of crops and to boost the share of agriculture in the overall economic development of the state. The approach paper for the 13th five-year plan has suggested for specialised zones for the production of rice, vegetable, banana, coconut and flowers.
“Each zone will seek to bridge yield gaps in the specific crop, increase farmer incomes, and do so through sustainable agricultural practices”, the paper said. The paper has also said that target of the government is to increase the gross cropped area under rice to 3 lakh hectares by the end of 13th plan period. “To increase the area under rice, cultivation needs to be extended (more fallow land must be brought under cultivation) and intensified (must increase the number of crops sown in a year)”, the paper said.
It has also stated that special agricultural zones for rice will be notified in seven locations: Kuttanad and Onattukara (Alap-puzha), kole (Thrissur), pokkali (Ernakulam), Palakkad, kaipad (Kannur) and Wayanad. Farmers will receive support with regard to inputs, mechanisation, and the procurement and marketing of rice. The increase in the area of vegetable cultivation and output is another thrust area.
“We should build on this success, and aim to more than double the area cultivated with vegetables. Under the XIII Plan, the government plans to establish special agricultural zones for vegetables in Devikulam (Idukki), Kanjikuzhy (Alappuzha), Pazhayannur, Ollukkara, Kodakara (Thrissur), Chitoor-Kollengode (Palakkad), and Mananthavadi (Wayanad)”, it said.
The paper has stated that each area of specialized zone requires a distinctive approach to the evaluation of yield potential and the selection of varieties....