Ker global meet to chart ways to modernise agri, emulate best fisheries practices

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 29 (PTI) Encouraging scientific modernisation as the base for a breakthrough in agriculture, Kerala is set to learn further from global developments in farming and emulate best practices in fisheries to improve production, marketing and supply-chain infrastructure in the two key sectors.

At a three-day global meet next week, the state will focus on agriculture as an important staging ground for recovery in a post-COVID-19 economy, an official release said here on Friday.

The February 1-3 Kerala Looks Ahead conference and consultation, being organised by the State Planning Board, comes in the aftermath of the government announcing a large- scale agricultural programme that emphasises on production, value addition and marketing, it said.

The session on agriculture on February 2 would see experts discussing ways to bridge yield gaps and increasing production in select crops.

'In order to ensure productivity growth, Kerala has to embrace the best technologies in use globally, particularly with respect to modern seeds and planting material and crop management,' Planning Board Vice-Chairperson V K Ramachandran said.

'We also need to strengthen extension methodologies that are new and IT-based,' he said.

As for fisheries, it remains under-utilised despite recent progress owing to official and public enthusiasm, according to Planning Board Member Secretary Venu V.

Active local governments and peoples participation provide a unique support mechanism for decentralised fishery development, he said, adding the sector got increased government support in the past four years, during which inland fish production rose by 15 per cent till 2018-19.

There would be two technical sessions on the fisheries sector, covering fisheries resources marine, brackish-water and freshwater their mariculture prospects, issues of varieties, scale and productivity.

Experts would also deliberate on marketing and supply chains, fish processing and value addition, besides the future of fisheries education and training.

The speakers include Kerala Minister for Fisheries and Harbour Engineering J Mercikutty Amma, World Food Prize Laureate, Dr Modadugu Vijay Gupta,Ben Belton of Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics with Michigan State University.

The three sub-sessions on agriculture would also look into new forms of production organisation and emulate international experience in successful farmers cooperatives and would be addressed among others by state Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar and ICAR Director-General Trilochan Mohapatra.

According to governmentsources, the slogan for the agricultural sector in the ongoing 13th Five-Year Plan is to enhance productivity, profitability, and sustainability.

The inaugural session of February 1 will be addressed by Nobel laureate economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz and Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist with the World Health Organisation, the release added. PTI LGK VS VS