Thrissur: Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar has cautioned against the attempts being made by some NGOs with foreign links and private individuals to protect the indigenous seed varieties. “The state agriculture department views such attempts with suspicion,” said Mr Sunil Kumar here on Thursday. He made the statement while announcing the new 23 seed varieties to be released at the Kerala Agricultural University by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the occasion of the second anniversary of the LDF government on May 26.
“A private individual from Wayanad had attended a seminar of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR claiming that he was the custodian of the indigenous variety of Navara rice. The KAU has objected to it. The KAU and the agriculture department are trying to create open field seed banks of these varieties to make it easy for the farmers to purchase them,” he said.
“It has become difficult these days to find indigenous varieties like Aanakomban Venda (ladies finger) and Nithya Brinjal that have resistance to diseases. A centre to preserve the bio-diversity will also be inaugurated by the chief minister on May 26,” Mr Sunil Kumar said. The new varieties of paddy, nutmeg and vegetables are drought and saline resistant and they could be used according to the different geographical conditions. They include organic high- yielding paddy as well.
The minister said the pesticide testing lab in Thiruvanathapuram under the KAU had been expanded and it could now test nearly 1,200 pesticide residues, including the new generation ones. “The test conducted recently by this lab showed that 96 per cent of vegetables produced under the supervision of agriculture department were pesticide-free. But only 44 per cent of the vegetables reaching the markets in Kerala from other sources, including other states, were found without pesticide residues,” he added...