Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 11 April 2021 11.43 PM IST

Success story in vegetable industry


The recent success of the state in vegetable production is a testament to the benefits that can be reaped if a suitable path is found in the field of agriculture. Those who are not interested in agriculture should also read the report published by us in this regard last day. It is estimated that vegetable production has increased by about one million tonnes in the last six years. Vegetable cultivation, which was limited to 46,500 hectares in 2015-16, has now grown to over one lakh hectares. Production has increased from 6.28 lakh tonnes to 16 lakh tonnes. The state needs 20 lakh tonnes of vegetables a year. With a little effort, Kerala will be able to become self-sufficient in vegetable production in two to three years. This silent revolution going on in the fields may not be noticed by the common people. Many are unaware of the visible revival in vegetable cultivation across the state. In the past, people enquired only when the supply of vegetables from the neighboring states was declining. With the abundance of produce in the country, most of the vegetables became available within reach and prices became affordable.

The fact is that the state is never going to be self-sufficient in food grains. The paddy area has been gone down from nine lakh hectares to two lakh hectares in the last half century. No matter how rich the yield is on these two lakh hectares, it won't be sufficient for one month. The Government is giving all possible incentives to nurture the existing paddy cultivation and increase the yield. However, the high cost of farming and the shortage of skilled labor are further alienating people from paddy cultivation. The situation is not so optimistic about cash crops, which can be said to be the backbone of Kerala. Many agricultural sectors are in trouble, including falling prices. The big leap in the vegetable sector comes amid this. Many of the vegetables that were imported in large quantities from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are now available locally. Large scale imports are required only for non-climatic varieties. In general, the reason for the high price of vegetables is the lack of a permanent system to supply them everywhere, even when the harvest is plentiful in the state. Although the Corporation works for the cultivation, storage and distribution of vegetables and fruits, it cannot be said that the farmers are reaping the benefits as intended. As yields increase, so does the cost of land and the tragedy that befalls farmers. If this is to change, procurement and distribution must be ten times more efficient. Arrangements should be strengthened to ensure that vegetables procured from farmers reach the consumers as soon as possible. At the same time, the state should increase the production of over-consumed vegetables. Many people have tried and proven that vegetables and fruits can grow in our soil if we work hard and take proper care of them. Vegetable cultivation has now started in the barren old paddy fields and land areas. That is the reason for the current growth seen in this sector. Yet vegetable cultivation can be expanded to more areas. There is a lot of land around for that. There is a general tendency today to cultivate at least three or four varieties of vegetables in the home. It is a good sign that the new generation, including the educated, is coming together with a passion for agriculture. They are also involved in many new experiments in agriculture. Young people who quit even attractive jobs in big companies are a role model not only for the youth but for the country as a whole. It has been proven by many that adopting new farming methods in less space can work wonders. If the Department of Agriculture is willing to provide opportunities for the experiments and provide the necessary assistance, it will be possible to create greater gains in the field of vegetable cultivation than at present. Increased unemployment among the youth will also be addressed at least to a small extent. The state has already achieved self-sufficiency in milk production. The same can be said of vegetables. This is not a trivial matter for the state.

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