Value Addition Can Hand Hold Agriculture Sector Towards Growth Path: Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar

Calling for synergy in the development and value addition potential of each farm produce, Kerala Agriculture Minister Adv V S Sunil Kumar said that only then would the state would be able to tide over the negative growth that has beaten down the agriculture sector. Though Kerala is a forerunner in banana cultivation, the state has not been able to make the most of the scientific innovations or act in an organised manner to tap the value addition potential of the fruit.

 

Speaking at the valedictory function of the three-day National Seminar – Technical Sessions, held as part of the five-day National Banana Festival that is currently on in Vellayani, the Minister said the state government has lined up innovative measures to ensure fair price to farmers for their produce and also to accord farmers the ownership  of the value added products that they come up with. A new movement, akin to Amul, with active participation of the farmers has been set in motion in the form of the Kerala Agro Business Company  and the Banana – Honey Park  that would come up at Kannara in Thrissur district.

 

Talking of the need for awareness among farmers about the various schemes available in their favor, Adv V S Sunil Kumar said that many farmers who had been affected by the Ockhi cyclone failed to get hold the benefits of the crop insurance scheme  as most of them were not registered with the scheme. Dr G G Gangadharan, President, CISSA, in his presidential address said that the opportunity for banana is really huge in the country, and mooted the constitution of a Banana Board so that the plant and its cultivation would benefit.

 

Dr SC Joshi IFS (retd), Chairman, Kerala State  Biodiversity  Board and Dr Kamalakshan Kokkal, Senior Principal Scientist, KSCSTE were the guests of honor at the function. Dr C K Peethambaran, Chairman, Seminar Committee, NBF 2018; Dr P N Krishnan, Vice Chairman, Seminar Committee, NBF 2018; R Jayalakshmi, President, Kalliyoor Grama Panchayat were also present at the function.

 

The three day seminar began on February 17 with the paper presentation on the topic ‘conservation and sustainable development of banana systems’ by Dr Ram Boojh, UNESCO South Asia Cluster Officer, New Delhi, India. Presentations on various topics including alternate dimensions for enhancing the banana farmers in India, processing and value addition in banana: a promising enterprise, IP protection over Chengalikodan Nendra banana of Kerala, farm mechanization and mechanization in by-product utilization of banana, deployment of banana tissue culture known-how in rural sector through BARC’s  AKRUTI programme, end to end supply chain program for banana Robusta in Mysore region, scope and importance for income and employment generation and Invitro regeneration of Musa Paradisiaca Cv. Cv Rose Poovan(Aa) using inflorescence Apices, were made over teh past three days.

 

In the oral Presentation session, the first prize was bagged by Geetha Lekshmi P R, while the 2nd and the 3rd prizes were awarded to  Bhuvaneswari S and Radhika B J respectively.  The first prize for the poster presentation was presented to Sivakumar T and the second prize was presented to Milsha George. The third prize was shared between Mubarack O P and Bindhu J S. The consolation prize for poster presentation was awarded to Nafitha K J.

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