Kerala is aiming at a “vegetable revolution” by bringing around 50,000 hectares under cultivation to enable the state to export such produces, which it now procures from other states.
This is among a slew of measures the new government under Pinarayi Vijayan plans to do as part of its development initiatives.
“The state government would focus on agriculture as well as other industries that are ‘suitable’ for the state that does not have enough land,” Vijayan, who was in Delhi for the first time after he took over as the chief minister, said.
Outlining his priorities on development front, he indicated that it would be an all-encompassing model where traditional sectors like agriculture and fresh ones like Information Technology get their due. He also pointed out that infrastructure development as well as social sectors like health and education would get adequate attention.
“When we talk about developing Kerala, we cannot avoid talking about farmers and agriculture sector. The farmers need to sustain themselves. The productivity in this sector should increase. We are way behind. We will focus attention towards this,” he said.
Vijayan also felt the need for developing areas for cultivating vegetables, which Kerala now procures from Tamil Nadu
“We need to cultivate vegetables in 50,000 hectares. This would help us to sell them outside Kerala and India. This could also result in creation of employment opportunities,” he said adding there is a need to focus on producing more milk and eggs.
Another area of interest would be the electronics sector where Kerala would like to develop Silicon Valley-like hubs in the state.
Talking about infrastructure development, he said there is a need to improve road connectivity.
Emphasising the need for speedy construction of national highways, he said there is delay in acquiring land. When pointed out that land acquisition is a problematic area, he said the question is for what land is acquired and people would cooperate if one takes them into confidence.
“Our aim is not to harm anyone. We will protect those who will be affected by acquisition. There will be proper rehabilitation process. We will need to have special package for those whose land will be acquired,” Vijayan said.