A Report on the National Meet on “Prospects of Coconut Sector” and Kisan Mela-2016 organized at the Kayamkulam Regional Station of ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (Kasaragod) in Kerala

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A National Meet on “Prospects of Coconut Sector” and Kisan Mela-2106 was organized at the Regional Station, Kayamkulam in the Alappuzha district of Kerala under the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (Kasaragod) during September 29-30, 2016, as part of the celebrations of 100 years of coconut research dating back to 1916.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, Govt. of India inaugurated the programme on 29th September 2016. In his address, he complimented the research achievements made by the ICAR-CPCRI to make coconut sector more vibrant during the 100 years of research and expressed happiness to be part of this programme being conducted in Kerala, the ‘God's Own Country’. He opined that low productivity and high labour wages are some of the problems presently faced by the coconut farmers, and therefore, 'a comprehensive coconut care' should be the focus for sustaining income.

Hon’ble Minster emphasized the need for maintenance of soil health, considered as the backbone of agriculture, by the farmers and informed that the Govt. of India is taking necessary steps to distribute soil health cards to all farmers in the country by 2017-18. For this purpose, the union government is planning to set up soil testing laboratories in each panchayath  in the country with necessary financial support.

Further, the hon'ble Minister informed that the government will give priority to the lab-to-land programme for transfer of technology to farmers. The Central Government would take initiatives to ensure that the new technologies and research results evolved in agricultural research stations and universities in the country reach the farmers at his doorstep when he needs it most. Quarterly meeting of the extension personnel of all the departments including that of ICAR institutes located in Kerala state should be held at the district level to take stock of the transfer of technology initiatives and streamlining the machinery further. 

Honble Minister pointed  out that the irrigation and road projects envisaged by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister, has paid rich dividends in the development of basic infrastructure of villages in our country. Due to the government initiative, urea is now freely available in the market, most importantly 'in time' for the cropping season, and reduced the interference of middlemen. He exhorted the state to utilize the central funds in full and on time. The Central Government will allot sufficient funds to the state for implementation of approved projects, the minister added. He called upon for the production of quality planting materials and judicious use of water for enhancing productivity and urged the researchers and farmers alike to focus on crop pluralization and product diversification for sustained income and better profitability of farming.

During the function, Minister launched the 'e-Kalpa', a digital initiative based on mobile app, for quick retrieval of ICAR-CPCRI technologies and user-friendly farm-problem diagnosis and remedial measures, besides two value-added products  under the brand,'Kalpakrunch' and 'Kalpa sugar'. These value-added products from neera can further enhance the viability and profitablity of the neera  industry, directly benefitting all the stakeholders in the value-chain. He also released a book on ‘Production of Quality Planting Material”. He planted  a coconut seedling  to mark the centenary celebrations and harvested a coconut bunch from a three year old Gudanjali Green Dwarf coconut palm. He also inaugurated the national level exhibition organized as part of the National Meet, in which more than 40 impressive stalls by ICAR institutes, KVKs, Kerala Agricultural University, FACT, and State Department of Agriculture displayed  latest technologies and value-added products.

Sri. V.S. Sunil Kumar, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala, in his keynote address, urged to consider coconut as a sensitive commodity and requested the Central government to take the state government in confidence, while formulating export - import policies with far-reaching consequences for farmers in the state. He called for synergized research between central and state research organizations keeping ‘Farmer First’. He informed  the government’s plan of establishing a chain of agro-parks to produce value-added products from agricultural produces in all districts of Kerala, of which four would be coconut-based parks. In order to coordinate various activities in this connection, a workshop is being planned towards the end of November 2016, he said. During the function he released a book on “Compendium of Phytophthora Diseases” as well as the Souvenir on “Gleanings of Coconut”.

Sri. K.C. Venugopal, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Alappuzha presided over the function. In his address, he emphasized the need for product diversification, value addition and marketing for improving the economic status of coconut farmers. He also urged to include coconut in Prime Minister’s 'Fazal BhimaYojana' and to enhance the minimum support price of copra, besides  steps to increase the import duty of palm oil to help coconut farmers. He released a booklet on “Pictorial handbook on community based red palm weevil management of Coconut” in Hindi.

Earlier in the day, Dr. P. Chowdappa, Director, ICAR-CPCRI, Kasaragod welcomed the gathering and Dr. V. Krishnakumar, Head, ICAR-CPCRI, Regional Station proposed vote of thanks. Shri Raju Narayana Swamy, IAS, Agricultural Production Commissioner & Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Sri. Biju Prabhakar IAS, Director of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala and Sri. P.R. Muraleedharan, Member, Coconut Development Board  also graced the function.

The most happy tidings was that over 3,500 farmers and other delegates attended the meeting, braving the inclement weather. Various central and state government agencies like the ICAR institutes and Krishi Vigyan Kendras in the state; Coconut Development Board; NABARD;  Kerala Agricultural University; Department of Agriculture, Kerala; ATMA; Coconut Producers’ Companies and Federations and various private entrepreneurs and input agencies were partners in this two- days programme.

In the afternoon of 29th September 2016, an interactive technical session on ‘Prospects of coconut sector’ was organized for coconut farmers and extension officials, followed by sessions on ‘Value addition in coconut’, ‘Production strategies of coconut’, and ‘Pest management strategies in coconut’ handled by experts. Queries raised by the farmers were also answered to by the scientists/experts in these sessions.

  

  

  

 



ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute
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Time: 2017-10-18 04:00:35

                   

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