- The Kerala Government is planning to divide Kerala into five agro-ecological zones and 23 agro-ecological units.
- The five agro-ecological zones of Kerala will be (1) coastal plain, (2) midland plain (3) foothill (4) high hill and (5) Palakkad main.
- These zones are demarcated on the basis of soil structure, climate and other geographic features to ensure maximum productivity.
- Kerala Agricultural University has been tasked to prepare a protocol for agro-ecological zones.
- The UN will provide technical support and the World Bank will provide special loans for this purpose.
- The representatives of the UN and the World Bank has conducted the inspection based on the reports submitted by the state government.
Why the zoning is needed?
- An agro-ecological zone refers to the division of land into segments based on the soil structure and climate for cultivating appropriate crops in the land.
- With this, maximum production can be ensured in a limited space and pest control, crop management,fertilising and utilisation of technology will be easier. Similar experiments in other countries turned out to be a huge success.
- At present, the lands where same crop is cultivated are divided on revenue basis. The Kuttanad region where paddy is cultivated is spread over three revenue districts.
- Under the new zonal division, Paddy, coconut and rubber cultivation will be divided into separate zones in order to ensure better production and economic security to the farmers.
- The government assume that if the land is brought under a single zone, it will help boost production and increase income of farmers.
- The new zonal division will enable the agricultural sector to adapt to the long-term effects of climate change. The 2018 floods in the state also given it an added impetus.
- The Agriculture Department has earlier formed a high-level committee to prepare an action plan for reorganising the activities of the agriculture department to accommodate the concept of agro-ecological zones.
- The action plan is meant to equip the department to supply the necessary administrative backup for its implementation.
- The high-level committee has Agriculture Production Commissioner as its chairman and the Agriculture Director as the convener. It has 13 other members drawn from the Departments of Finance, Local Self Government, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Soil Survey and Soil Conservation, the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), and the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU).
(Sources: Mathrubhumi, The Hindu)