Thiruvananthapuram: In a bid to ensure food security and employment generation, the Kerala government on Wednesday announced a Rs 3,000-crore package for revival of the agriculture sector in the pandemic-hit state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet that the state government plans to spend Rs 3,000 crore in the next one year to boost food production and revive agriculture.
"Out of this, Rs. 1,500 crore will be raised from the plan allocation of local self-government institutions and various departments and the remaining Rs 1,500 crore will be provided as loans from NABARD and the Co-operative sector," he said.
The Chief Minister said the agriculture department has come up with a massive programme to use the fallow land for farming from next month.
He said the project would be implemented in all local self-government bodies by using the wasteland in their areas.
"The aim of the Agriculture Department is to revitalise agriculture, increase the revenue of farmers, attract youth to farming, and also as a rehabilitation project for expatriates who have lost their jobs," he said.
The Agriculture Department has prepared a draft plan and once it was finalised, its implementation would begin soon.
The Chief Minister said the plan also envisages increasing livestock, milk and egg production, and aquaculture development and all local bodies would make necessary changes to the annual plan before May 15 for the implementation.
If the owner of the land wants to cultivate the land, the government will support the owner. Otherwise, self-help groups or Kudumbasree or Panchayat-led committee can use the land for cultivation. Various departments like Animal Husbandry, Irrigation, Cooperation, Fisheries, Industries, SC & ST Welfare will be involved in this project to be coordinated by the Agriculture Department, the Chief Minister added.
According to yhe Agriculture Department, there are 1.09 lakh hectares of wasteland in the state and it is estimated that 1.4 lakh hectares can be used for inter-cropping.
The state government expects that as farming spreads and production increases, new agricultural markets would be opened in villages and towns and would also explore digital marketing systems.