Nation Other News 01 Jun 2016 Farming research cen ...

Farming research centre hit by lack of funds

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | T SUDHEESH
Published Jun 1, 2016, 6:29 am IST
Updated Jun 1, 2016, 6:29 am IST
Low sea level farming institute at Thottapally.
 Low sea level farming institute at Thottapally.

ALAPPUZHA: The International Research and Training Centre for Below Sea-level Farming set up  at Thottapally in February  this year  to enhance the sustainable food security in the state is  reeling under shortage  of hands and  funds.

Dr K.G. Padmakumar, institute director, said that it was being run by only five staff members in place of the required 15. “It has not been allocated  any fund this year though the former government had agreed to provide Rs 5 crore as annual fund. We had a discussion  with the finance minister the other day for its funding,” Dr Kumar  said.

The research centre was established in the wake of the proposal submitted by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) after Kuttanad was declared as  a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Zone (GIAHZ) by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations in 2013.

The  centre aims at rejuvenation of the earlier system of farming based on both flood control and salinity management and sharing the unique knowledge system with other countries. “The institute is currently running in a rented house at Thottapally here. The infrastructure  is being set up with the Rs 1 crore allocated by the government last year. We presently carry out research activities with the ‘external’ funds  provided by the MSSRF,”  said the director.

“The institute has already initiated a project to distribute special app-based waterproof cell phones developed by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, to the fishermen. As many as 45 fishermen have  been equipped with such smart phones and the  project will be extended to other fishermen as per the availability of funds.   Environmental surveillance programmes to combat sea incursion and flood situation have also been launched,” Dr Padmakumar added.

The Below Sea-Level Farming in Kuttanad is a unique  method which the UN recognized  as globally important.  The preservation of bio-diversity, fish wealth,  water  sources, intrusion of saline water in  pure water, flood and other matters will also come under the research, he said.  The centre was inaugurated by  former chief minister Oommen Chandy on February 6.

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Location: India, Kerala




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