29th September 2016, Kayamkulam
A National Meet on “Prospects of Coconut Sector” and Kisan Mela-2106 was organized at the Regional Station, Kayamkulam , Alappuzha of ICAR-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, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare in his inaugural address complimented the research achievements made by the ICAR-CPCRI and 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.
Minster emphasized the need for maintenance of soil health 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.
Further, 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.
Shri Singh 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 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'. 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.
Sri. V.S. Sunil Kumar, Minister of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala, in his keynote address, urged to consider coconut as a sensitive commodity and 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, 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 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, Dr. P. Chowdappa, Director, ICAR-CPCRI, Kasaragod in his welcome address briefed about the recent research activitites of the Institute.
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.
3,500 farmers and other delegates attended the meeting.
(Source: ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, Kasaragod)