National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), in association with the Agriculture Department, Wayanad District Cooperative Bank (DCB), Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Societies (PACS) development cell and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), is gearing up to revive paddy cultivation in the district by promoting pesticide-free cultivation of traditional rice varieties.
A meeting of senior officials of the organisations held here recently decided to explore avenues to propagate cultivation of indigenous varieties of rice and to ensure a marketing network for the traditional varieties.
Speaking after inaugurating the programme N.S. Saji Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, stressed the need for widespread cultivation of indigenous rice varieties such as Adukkan, Thondi, Chomala and Gandhakasala and procuring them by providing a premium price to the farmers. “Such produces have a huge potential in the market but it was yet to be tapped properly. If it would be marketed under a brand name with the assistance of PACS and FPOs after value addition, it will help boost paddy cultivation,” Mr. Sajikumar added.
Dip in groundwater level
“Banana cultivation was found to be the reason for falling of groundwater level, which gradually led to the drought situation in Wayanad,” he said. “Systematic efforts for reviving paddy at the level of PACS, which are already providing loans to farmers for cultivation of short-term crops, were needed and assurance of procurement and marketing was the key factor,” he added.
The meeting also stressed the need for materialising the concept like seed village and organic certification over a period of time.
Mariyam Jacob, Deputy Director, Agriculture Department, and P. Gopa Kumar, General Manager , WDCB spoke.
Source : The Hindu