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Farmer-friendly: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurating the Agro Super Bazaar in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that the State government will try its best to increase the procurement price of paddy further.
Inaugurating an Agro Super Bazaar, set up by the Agriculture Department with the cooperation of various agencies under it, here on Wednesday, he said the procurement price had been increased from Rs.7 to Rs.12 a kg in stages. The State government knew that it was not adequate. But it was higher by Rs.2 than the Centre's.
He said it was the Centre's responsibility to procure food grains and announce support price for the produce. The support price announced by the Centre for paddy was grossly inadequate. If the State government could increase the price to the present level within its constraints, the Centre should be able to increase it to at least Rs.15 a kg.
He contended that the agriculture sector had achieved phenomenal progress during the last four years. The government had succeeded in halting farmers' suicides owing to debt burden and in infusing new dynamism into the sector. A comprehensive action plan was implemented for increasing agriculture production. Paddy cultivation could be extended to 60,000 hectares, as a result of which paddy production had increased by 1.25 lakh tonnes. Stringent action was taken to check conversion of paddy fields. Pension and insurance schemes were introduced for farmers.
He said the Kerala Agro Industries Corporation (under the aegis of which the bazaar has come up), set up to increase agriculture production by popularising machinery and new methods of cultivation among farmers, had been running at a huge loss. It had succeeded in making a turnaround during the last four years.
Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran presided over the function. The greenhouse complex was inaugurated by Food Minister C. Divakaran, the first sale by Law Minister M. Vijayakumar, a workshop complex by Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran, a hiring centre by Mayor C. Jayan Babu and a training centre by Deputy Leader of the Opposition G. Karthikeyan.
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