A G R I C U L T U R E  

The policy approach to agriculture, has been to  secure  increased  production of Coconut by adopting  suitable  agronomic  practices  and  production  of  vegetables,  fruits  pulses   and  tubercrops   
utilising maximum possible  inter spaces  of  Coconut  gardens through package of efforts on increasing the area  under  these crops.   Use of improved varieties, supply of inputs, garden  implements,  manures  biofertilizers, garden chain  linkmesh  are  envisaged in the programme of the department.  A careful  attempt  has  been  made  to  tackle the  problems  facing  against  sound  ecosystem  of the islands through implementation of programme  of  social  forestry, agro forestry, littoral and  mangrove  vegetation  and  soil  and water conservation packages.  Followings   are  the  thrust  areas undertaken by the department to improve  livelihood  and living standards of the people.

1.       Coconut Development Programme:-

Coconut is the major crop of   the territory and is the life line of the people.  Multiplication  of  reputed  coconut varieties of the territory   viz.  Laccadive  ordinary, Laccadive small and Lacadive micro  are spread to other  states  and Union Territory considering their quality in  respect  of copra, oil content etc.  

The production of coconut has reached 283 million nuts during 2000-2001 as against 16.3 million  during  19966-67.  

Elimination  of  low  productive palms  and  maintenance  of  optimum spacing was vital to improve and increase the  production  from unit holdings.  An estimated 2000 trees were cut and removed   from various fields by paying an incentive of Rs.400/- per  tree.  Scheme  contemplates to provide financial assistance  to  coconut  nursery growers, coconut producers etc.  A target of 2000 is  set  for the current financial year also.  

  

  2.   Horticulture Development Programame:-

         The main objective of  the scheme is to reduce the import of fruits from near by  states  and to produce as much  as quantity of fruits locally.  This  has  facilitated  to create family employment to  generate  additional  income.    Banana,  Pappaya  and sapota  cultivation  along  with  distribution  of  agricultural  inputs are  envisaged  under  the  scheme.  Banana cultivation was the highest during the last  plan  period and it will be improved further to meet the local  demand.   Nearly  70 hectors of land were brought under fruit  cultivation.   The  department was able to instill confidence among  the  farmers

and  more  and  more people have come forward to  take  up  fruit  cultivation as a source of nutritious food and income  generating  job.  

3.   Olericulture Development Programme:-

               A deserving   priority  has been given to the schemes inorder to provide nutritional diet to  the  people.  The scheme contemplates  to  increase  vegetable  production,  tuber  crops,  pulses as an inter  crop  in  coconut  gardens to meet the basic minimum requirement and to minimize the  import  of  vegetable from near by states.   Inputs  like  seeds,  implements,  manures and fencing materials were supplied  to  the  farmers.  

4.   Manure and Fertiliser:-

      Soils in the islands are very  poor  in Nitrogen, Potash and macro nutrients.  Prudent attempt is made for   organic  dressing,  fertility  improvement  steps   through  bio fertilizers,  green  manures,  organic  manures  so  that  the  ecology   and  environment  of  the  islands  are  not   damaged.   Procurement  of  micro nutrients,  bio fertilizers,  green   manure  seeds,  organic  manures and production of pith plus  compost  on  large  scale  are undertaken under the scheme.   Self help  groups  from all the islands came forward to take up pith plus composting  self employment.

5.       Integrated Pest Management:- 

           Lakshadweep is a disease  free  zone.   But  rodent  pest  is  the  major  menace  posing  coconut  production.  An estimated 10 to 20 % loss is caused.  Control  of  rat is arranged through hunt campaign and by supplying  available  devices   like  glue  trap,  Ratol  paste   etc.    Horticulture.   Olericulture,  and Floriculture crops too are infested  by  pests  and diseases.  Considering the delicate ecology of the territory,  control  measures  being  organic  and  bio control  methods   are  adopted.

6.  Agricultural Extension Service and Technology Transfer:- 

         The  scheme  acquires importance as it enable the department to  extent latest  technical  inputs in the relevant areas  of  agricultural  activities  to  the professionals and to the  farmers.   Training  programmes  both  for  extension functionaries  and  farmers  are  arranged.   Farmers are coming forward to adopt new methods,  for  better production.

7.Research and Development:

         The department is undertaking  research  studies  in  collaboration with  CPCRI,  Kasargod,  the  Regional  Station, Minicoy, NBSS, ICAR,  Bangalore,  Agricultural  Universities   etc  on  agronomic  practices,  soil   and   water conservation, biofertiliser application, rodent pests managements  ect.

8.       Floriculture  & Orchid Development:-

            This is a  new  scheme    started  during IX plan period to empower the women flok to  take  floriculture  activities  and  earn income.   Response  from  the  public  is encouraging and more women come forward to take up  the work.

9.       Agricultural Marketing and Processing:- 

           Though the copra  is main  produce  of  Lakshadweep, there is no  facility  for  copra  grading.  Scheme  envisages to provide financial  assistance  for  copra grading to fetch better price in the market. Assistance also are  provided  under  the  scheme  for  fruit  processing,  neera  taping.jaggary making, vengar making and their marketing.

10.    Agricultural  Engineering  Service:-  

       The  basic   minimum      services  like providing of Tools and implements,  equipment  and  machineries  to  the farming commnity is harnessed  through  this  scheme.  Copra drying devices, fencing materials, heliflex  hose,  garden tools are also procured and supplied to the farmers.

11.    Soil and Water Conservation:-

       Lakshadweep islands are prone  to  soil erosion and about 20 running kilometers sea  shore  line  are subjected to erosion and the same length has been subjected to  merosion.    Added  importance  is  given  for  soil  and   water  conservation,  efficient  use of soil and  water,  and  connected  activities  which  have  direct bearing to  improve  ecology  and  environment.

12.  Disaster management:-  

           Andrott, Kalpeni and Minicoy lie in a  cyclone belt.  The remaining islands are facing the fury of south  west  monsoon  and north east monsoon causing  heavy  damages  to  coconut,  crops,  seashore  land,  sheds  and  dwelling   houses.   Suitable  compating  measures and  appropriate  compensation  for  victims and their rehabilitation is thrust of the scheme.

12.    Social and Agro Forestry- 

         Owing chiefly to  the  delicate and  vulnerable  ecology  of  the  islands,  adequate  thrust  is  necessary  on social and Agro forestry aimed at  rejuvenation  of  littoral  and  mangrove vegetation, raise marine green  belt  with  massive tree plant and other social forestry activities.      New  programmes Homestead farming and minikit  distribution  to the selected 1000 farmers of this territory will be a stepping  stone to enhance vegetable production and ensure availability  of  fresh vegitable from islands itself.

Establishment  of Krishi Vidyan Kendra by the ICAR, to  this  territory  was  a  blessing as far  as  Agricultural  Development  activities  and  various  training  needs  of  the  farmers   and  extension  workers  are concerned.   During last year 10  nos  on  campus  and 13 nos off campas training programmes were  conducted  benefiting  667  trainees.  77 nos training  programmes  covering  1325  farmers  & extension workers are proposed for  the  current  year.    Front line demonstration and on farm testing on  various  crops and problem areas are also being taken up by the KVK.