|Kuttanadu is a region in the district of Alappuzha, in the state of Kerala, India, renowned for its vast and scenic paddy fields and for its geographical beauty. It’s the region with the lowest altitude in India, and one of the few places in the world where farming is carried out below sea level. It’s also one of the historically important places in the ancient history of South India.The major occupation, in Kuttanad is farming. Rice is the important agricultural product, thus labeling Kuttanad as the “The Rice Bowl of Kerala”. Large farming areas near vembanad Lake were actually reclaimed from the lake. The history of the paddy cultivation in Kuttanad can be traced back to centuries.
A high-level discussion on the Kuttanad Package, attended by agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, on Friday decided that Kuttanad should be declared as a global agriculture heritage zone.
The purpose will be the promotion of sustainable agriculture by protecting the environment.
Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes globally important agriculture systems and proposals would be put up for that said Dr. Swaminathan to the media. Farming was being practiced about four meters below the sea level in Kuttanad for about 150 years. The declaration of the area as a heritage zone would be a recognition to the stupendous achievements of farmers of Kuttanad.
Announcing the decisions of the conference, Finance Minister K.M. Mani said earthen bunds were most suitable for Kerala. However, there would be no rigid approach in the matter. Where the bunds were vulnerable to waves or heavy flow, pile and slab system or masonry could be tried. The polder committees would be allowed to take suitable decisions in this regard, he said.
The Minister added that they have decided that a senior government officer should be appointed as chief executive officer to implement the package. The next meeting of the Cabinet would take the needed decisions. An amount of Rs.700 crore had already been sanctioned for irrigation works under the package. The work needed to be carried out quickly and in a apparent manner.
Mr. Mani said the work on the Changanassery-Alappuzha canal would be expedited and completed in two phases. There were no decisions yet on renovation of the Thanneermukhom bund and the earthen portion of the bund in the middle of the barrage. Several studies had already been undertaken and the matter needed to be probed further.
Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph, Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan, and Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar were among those who attended the conference.
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