Inherent strengths of Kerala’s agricultural sector such as homesteads, regime of free land, biological wealth and biodiversity and rural farming can be harnessed for a brighter tomorrow provided we properly mingle science, technology and scientific temper to agriculture, State Planning Board vice chairman V.K. Ramachandran has said.

Delivering the 13th endowment lecture organised by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) in memory of former Vice Chancellor and economist K.N. Shyamasundaran Nair at Mannuthy on Tuesday, he said the future of State’s agriculture would be decided by what we do in the next 15 years.

“Benefits of better schooling and literacy coupled with marketability of specialised produces like spices and condiments present a strong platform. Low incidences of subsistence farming and familiarity with market economy are also positive factors to be exploited.

“Vast network of agricultural education and research system and enormous knowledge base should be used as the springboard for future development,” he pointed out.

“Even while realising the strengths, we also have to see the challenges before us. The yield gap of major crops, a slowly improving growth rate, inability to stabilise prices of our commodities and failure to exploit flourishing international market for our produces have to be resolved.

“The fact is that we have not succeeded in utilising our vast knowledge base,” he said.

Unfortunate

Dr. Ramachandran remarked that it was unfortunate to have people in responsible positions propagating unscientific postulates.

“We cannot surge ahead without a scientific development agenda. At the same time, understanding, documenting and utilising local knowledge is also important.

Integration of productivity, profitability and ecology is the key to sustainable livelihood. “Options like identifying an ideal lead crop for each agroclimatic region, putting farmers on an income growth path and exploring the potential of tribal agriculture have to be employed in the earnest,” he explained.

“Let’s resolve the irony of harming our greenery to facilitate the desire to live in greenery,” he said.

Development path

KAU Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu delineated the development path being pursued by Kerala and the role played by the Planning Board in it.

KAU executive committee member T. Pradeep Kumar, Registrar P.S. Geethakutty, Director of Research P. Indira Devi, Director of Extension Jiju P Alex, heads of institutions, students and staff participated.

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