Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Dec 25, 2007
Front Page |
Tamil Nadu |
Andhra Pradesh |
New Delhi |
Other States |
Advts: Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |
A sudden shortage of rice in the market and a spurt in the price have triggered a public debate on the Malayali’s food habit. Should he reduce the intake of rice and supplement it with other cereals or boost paddy cultivation in the State? Our readers respond:
Kerala is blessed with nature’s gifts in various forms. But we are so much into the vicious circle of development, we are concerned only about the growth in our incomes and better lifestyles. Reclamation of paddy fields and wetlands is going on at an unprecedented rate in spite of the existing rules and regulations. It is not long before agriculture and cultivation will become a thing of the past. It is time that Keralites, primarily the government and the administration, realised the importance of agricultural sustainability and the need to be self-sufficient with regard to food crops. The government should take adequate measures to encourage cultivation of food crops.
It should make provisions to give necessary incentives to promote agriculture, especially among the younger generation, and ensure that these incentives reach the actual farmers and farm workers.In the education sector also, due importance should be given to agriculture and it should be highlighted as a major source of employment and livelihood..
In the recent past, we have been making a shift from our traditional eating habits and the results in the form of obesity, blood pressure, cardiac problems etc are already evident. Before we replicate anything from any other part of the world, we should look into out history, our culture and our geographical position, and then decide on whether we need to adopt it or not.
Renjan Mathew Varghese
There are two aspects to the issue being discussed. One is the need to reduce the intake of rice in our food habit and supplement it with other cereals, especially wheat. For this, other cereals should also be available at reasonable prices. However, the basic requirement is to boost paddy cultivation in the state.
In the present scenario of fragmented paddy fields, economic cultivation through economics of scale and mechanised farming is not possible. In such a situation, corporatisation of agriculture is a possible solution to bring in economics of scale, commitment to work and investment of a large amount of private funds. This is especially suitable for ‘Kayal’ farming at Kuttanad, ‘Kole’ farming in Thrissur and paddy cultivation in ‘Pokkali’ fields, which call for heavy investment, meticulous planning and effective implementation. Rice milling companies, among others, can be encouraged to promote companies for paddy cultivation. Land owned by government or cooperative societies can be given to these companies on a long-term lease with restrictions on their use for purposes other than paddy cultivation, fish farming and suitable intermediate crops.
Thomas K Varughese
ThiruvananthapuramEnsure quality rice
Market forces determine the price of a commodity in a free economy. But in Kerala, a peculiar situation prevails. While shortage of rice in the open market has caused a hike in its price, huge stocks of unsold rice remain in outlets under the public distribution system (PDS). Ration cardholders belonging to the middle class, upper middle class and the elite have an aversion to purchasing rice at Rs.8.9 per kg from ration shops owing to two reasons – first, poor quality and second, because it is underweight. They go for packed rice that is more expensive.
It is true that the quality of rice sold through ration shops is at times poor. Nowadays, good rice is available at the outlets.
If a little more care is taken in the processing and storage of rice earmarked for sale through the PDS, it will be of a great help to the public. It will also hold the price line.
The government should take all possible steps to ensure availability of good quality rice in the open market and PDS outlets.
Food habits cannot be suddenly changed. However many people of the State have started consuming less rice. The scope for boosting paddy cultivation is limited as fields in most parts of the State are being filled for construction and for other crops.
S. Paul Dhason
ThiruvananthapuramFormulate rice policy
Rice consumption has become inextricably linked to our food habit. Any change in it cannot be advocated by any authority. The government has to take both short and long-term measures to arrest price rise. As a short-term measure, the government can bring rice from other states, especially Andhra Pradesh, and supply the same at very reasonable price through cooperative society stores, Maveli or other stores. It should strictly interfere with the open market.
Ration shops should ensure the quality of rice, wheat or cereals distributed.
The Union government must be moved to release quality rice to the State. There must be a long-term rice policy in the State.
VattiyoorkavuTreat it as an industry
Rice cultivation should be treated as an industry and that alone is the answer to overcoming the present shortage of rice in the State. The package proposed by Dr. Swaminathan for Kuttanad when implemented will increase rice production.
Rice production in Kerala is not remunerative.
As a matter of fact, rice cultivators do not receive remuneration for their work though they feed the country. This is seldom appreciated by those in power which is the root cause of the crisis we now face. It is also necessary to change our dietary habits.
K.P. Karunakaran Nair
ThiruvananthapuramFarming not practical
The idea of changing food habit is not feasible as it cannot be changed overnight. Rice is the staple food of Malayalis.
The substitute of rice is wheat, which is not cheaper than rice.
It costs around Rs.14 per kg. So substituting rice with wheat or any other cereal is a utopian idea.
Coming to the question of boosting rice cultivation, there is not enough cultivable land in Kerala. While Palakkad lacks water, Kuttanad suffers from flooding.
People are not interested in rice cultivation as draught and flood bring many woes. Therefore, purchase of rice from the neighbouring States or importing it is the panacea for price rise in the market.
Front Page |
Tamil Nadu |
Andhra Pradesh |
New Delhi |
Other States |
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |
Copyright © 2007, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of