New policy envisages decentralised storage facilities.

Policy highlights

Envisages converting all crops into organic farming mode over the next ten years in a phased and compact manner.

Advocates adopting a compact area group approach

Every local self-government institution will develop model organic farms in select farmers' fields.

Our Bureau

Kozhikode, May 17

The Kerala organic farming policy, which was officially announced by the Chief Minister, Mr. V.S. Achuthanandan, here on Monday, aims at launching organic farming over 30,000 hectares in the first phase.

The action plan of the policy envisages converting all crops into organic farming mode over the next 10 years in a phased and compact manner.

The policy advocates adopting a compact area group approach in organic farming by encouraging formation of organic farmers groups, clubs, self-help groups and cooperatives for the purpose of cultivation, input production, certification and marketing.

There is need for ensuring organic farming approach in all the watershed development areas and extend support, including capacity building and financial assistance, for soil and water conservation measures through ongoing programmes.

Farm-lab tie-up

The Kerala Agriculture University and other research institutions should develop suitable crop combinations and locally suitable technology through participatory research with the farmers.

The policy calls for ensuring the availability of biomass in the organic farm itself, through programmes such as crop rotation, tree crops, cover crops, leguminous crops and green manure.

Also, support of cow, buffalo, duck, poultry and goat, preferably traditional breeds, should be provided to the organic farmers to ensure the availability farmyard manure.

Every local self-government institution will develop model organic farms in select farmers' fields. Research stations in each agro-ecological zone under the Kerala Agriculture University and other institutions should be converted into organic management systems and thus become a field study centre for students, farmers and peoples' representatives.

Separate and decentralised storage facilities for farm produces have to be established to protect their organic integrity and help the farmers in certification processes.

The arrangement has to be followed in the case of transportation of organic produces to nearby domestic markets.

The policy also underlines the need for providing interest-free loans to organic farmers, especially small and marginal farmers. Credits linked to banks will be subsidised through Central or State Government.

A State-led insurance scheme for small and marginal farmers may also be introduced.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 18, 2010)
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