By M S Vidyanandan
Paddy production went up by 5% in the state in 2022-23 despite a 3% year-on-year decline in the total area under cultivation. This was revealed in a report on an experimental participatory paddy farming project released by the economics and statistics department on Saturday.
In 2021-22, 5.62 lakh tonnes of paddy were produced from 1.95 lakh hectares of land. Production rose to 5.92 lakh tonnes the very next year, though the extent of cultivation dipped to 1.90 lakh hectares. Department officials attribute the increase in production to a jump in productivity. Productivity was 3,117kg per hectare in 2022-23, against the previous year’s 2,872kg.
The report showed that paddy production, output and area under cultivation in 2020-21 was the highest in a decade. That year, 2.01 lakh hectares generated 6.26 lakh tonnes in output. Productivity was 3,105kg per hectare. The area under cultivation has been shrinking — from 8.76 lakh hectares during 1975-79 to 1.9o lakh hectares in 2022-23.
The experimental farming project in Thiruvananthapuram was a huge success in terms of productivity, the report said. The state’s average productivity per hectare in 2020-21 was 3.106 tonnes. The project recorded a whopping figure of 7 tonnes as against the original target of 6 tonnes. The project was implemented on five acres of land each in Thamarassery-Kokkod and Nandaivanam-Thekkinkadu in Nagaroor grama panchayat. The panchayat is a major rice producer in the district where the area under cultivation increased from 170 hectares in 2015-16 to 210 hectares in 2022-23. The project sponsored by the district panchayat was implemented by the agriculture department under the technical guidance of the Vellayani College of Agriculture.
“The participatory farming project turned out to be a big success. It showed that the adoption of scientific farming practices will help increase production manifold. Increase in productivity and income will help attract more people to farming,” said ESD deputy director Anish Kumar B. The project report was released by Aruvikkara MLA G Stephen. ADM Anil Jose received the first copy. District planning officer Biju S and officials of the departments of agriculture and ESD were present.
This article has been republished from The New Indian Express.