No increase in area of vegetable farming in last 10 yrs

Despite incentives to promote vegetable farming, the total area of vegetable cultivation has not increased in the last 10 years.

The state’s annual vegetable consumption is pegged at `3,000 crore, while the domestic production is nominal.

The government is spending huge amounts to promote new farming practices like terrace farming and climate controlled green-house farming in urban and semi-urban areas.

Yet, and despite increase in prices, there is no let-up in the state’s dependence on neighbouring states for its vegetable requirements.

“Production from the hi-tech farming and terrace farming in urban areas can’t be quantified as it is nominal when compared to large-scale commercial production.

We aim at bringing an attitudinal change among the people to vegetable cultivation and their consumption patterns.

Though production is insufficient, people prefer to use home-grown pesticide free fresh vegetables,” said VV Pushpangadan, CEO of the vegetable and fruit promotion council.

During the last 10 years, the area under vegetable cultivation has not increased from the base figure of 40,000 hectares.

“This is because when new people enter the field, many quit the scene citing huge losses. The only profitable cultivation in the state is banana farming.

As vegetables are highly perishable and the harvesting time is limited, effective intervention is needed to support the farmers in getting good prices,” Pushpangadan added.

Meanwhile, in an effort to boost large-scale vegetable cultivation, VFPCK plans to expand the farming area to 3,000 hectares this year. “We plan to bring 20,000 more farmers to vegetable farming through Karshaka Samithis,” said Pushpangadan.

It is also pointed out that vegetable farming can be a profitable business for big companies which can afford high investment. “A majority of vegetable farmers have 50 cents to one acre of land.

Like in other states, big companies can invest in setting up large-scale vegetable farms which will help in increasing the production,” he said.

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