State Seed Farm Aluva near Kochi has become the first seed farm in the country to achieve carbon neutral status.
Carbon neutral indicates that emissions made during agricultural practices in a farm must be absorbed into the soil itself. Normally, agricultural practices emit a lot of carbon dioxide. As per scientific studies, agriculture and livestock account for 14 per cent of India’s gross national greenhouse gas emissions. However, the usage of power for agriculture activities will push up the emission to 22 per cent.
The 103-year-old Seed Farm located on the banks of the Periyar River in Thuruth Island on 13.5 acres was accorded carbon neutral status following a study by Climate Change and Environmental Science department of Kerala Agricultural University.
Assessing the carbon emissions and carbon storage, the study found that the farm had 43 tonnes of carbon emissions and 213 tonnes of carbon storage. This made the farm carbon neutral and carbon negative.
Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, will declare the carbon neutral status of the farm on Saturday.
Lissymol J Vadakuttu, assistant director of agriculture, State Seed Farm Aluva, said the unit has been organic since 2012 and has been taking steps to reduce carbon emissions. Mixed farming has also been adopted with native breeds of cow, goat, chicken and ducks along with aquaculture, azolla cultivation and vermin-compost production.
Paddy is the main crop at the farm which is cultivated on 7 acres. Besides high-yielding paddy, the farm also cultivates and provides farmers with the seeds of varieties such as Rakthashali, Njavara, Japan violet and Pokkali, she said.
There has been a considerable reduction in waste generation due to rearing of cows, goats, ducks, chicken, fish, bees and vermi-compost. Agriculture waste is converted into compost to be used as manure in the fields. Poultry like ducks is used to control the pests in the paddy. The animals are fed fodder, grass, hay and barn produce on the farm, she said.