Decreasing rice production in Kerala
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Though Kerala has 100% literacy rate, apt climatic conditions like abundant water and fertile soil for agriculture, the people there don’t have enough rice to eat. Why?
According to the statistics, 84% of food grain comes from other states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which means that, Kerala does not produce even one-fourth of the total requirement of rice. There is also a hike in the price of rice, which has increased from Rs. 12 per Kg in 2007 to Rs. 25 per Kg in 2010. It is predicted that if this situation continues to be the same, the people who live there may have to pay through the nose like Rs. 150 per Kg of rice in the days to come.
This is due to many reasons; firstly, more farmers are retreating from farming. It is seen that 13% of the total population belonged to the farming community in 1981, which reduced to 7% by 2001. The increase in agricultural expenses for farmers also led to this situation. There is also very less capital investment in farming by the government.
Secondly, climatic changes such as unseasonable rainfall and rising temperatures have worsened the situation. The south-west monsoon has become unpredictable due to which the paddy cultivation in Kerala has been badly affected. The farmers also switch over to commercial crops as they give them good profits. Urbanization is also one of the reasons for decreasing the availability of land for paddy cultivation. Though the Government has introduced programs for augmenting paddy cultivation, it did not seem to yield very positive results.
Hence, the possible solutions would include providing agricultural inputs of high quality such as seeds and fertilizers to farmers at subsidized rates, and bringing in modern methods of farming that are sustainable like obtaining water from rooftop harvesting methods, so that there would be lesser dependence on monsoon by the paddy cultivators.