Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday in a statement said that the state would need big interventions in the agricultural sector to remain self-sufficient in food grain production, in case of the prevailing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic continuing for a long period. He said that Kerala is dependent on other States for meeting its demand for food grains, fruits and vegetables.
"We have enough food stocks available for now and we are in a comfortable situation but if the current circumstances due to the pandemic outbreak continue for long, we would have to start preparing for the future and would need big interventions in the agriculture sector," Vijayan said.
The Kerala CM mentioned that the agriculture department in association with local self-government bodies is planning big projects to make the state more self-reliant. "We should explore all possible ways to improve our vegetable cultivation using kitchen gardens, rooftop cultivation and community projects by making the best use of the available agriculture land in the State," he said.
Stressing that state needs to adopt modern farming techniques and practices to have maximum produce from the minimum area, Vijayan said, "The state needs to increase the rice cultivation into over 25,000 hectares in the next two years. Cultivation of cereals, tuber crops, tapioca and plantain/banana should be increased to a larger area." He added that Kerala requires 20 lakh metric tonnes of vegetables every year, however, this year's production is just 14.72 lakh metric tonnes.
Kerala reported a spike in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 19 people testing positive, after a decline in the numbers in the past few days, as the total infections touched 426 in the southern state. The total number of positive Coronavirus cases across the country rose to 18,985, including 15,122 active cases of the virus. So far, 3,259 patients are cured/discharged while 603 deaths have been recorded, as per data provided by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(With agency inputs)