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Rubber Board organises workshop in intercropping
Kottayam, 12 January 2017

The Rubber Board has conducted a workshop to formulate a scheme for providing financial assistance for promoting intercropping in rubber holdings. The proposed scheme will be implemented as a joint venture of the Board and Agricultural Department of Kerala.

Mr. K. Ajithkumar, Executive Director of the Rubber Board in his welcome address said that the practice of intercropping would provide additional income to the rubber growers during the initial immaturity period of rubber. The State Agricultural Minister had in principle agreed to give financial assistance for vegetable and fruit intercrops in the immature rubber plantations. But, proper mechanism for marketing the crop has to be ensured. The same would be implemented through Rubber Producersí Societies. The Board would also seek assistance from the local bodies for this purpose. Govt. of Tripura also had agreed to implement a similar scheme. he added.

The agricultural sector in the State would witness revolutionary changes within two three years, said Mr. Biju Prabhakar IAS, Director , Agriculture in his introductory speech. But , along with increase in production, the value addition of products and marketing facilities have to be improved. This is applicable to rubber and all other crops. The government is planning to start 1000 ecoshops for marketing of vegetables and fruits, he said. He also assured all support for the proposed project.

Mr. James Jacob (Director, Rubber Research Institute of India) explained the salient features of the proposed scheme, in his presentation.

Mr. S.K Suresh (Chief Executive Officer, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam), Mr. R. Prasanth (Deputy General Manager, K.S.I.D.C.), Mr.V.R.Balu., (Manager, KINFRA), Captain Ramesh Babu (Project Director, National Institute for Research & Development in Defence Ship building).

A detailed discussion on the proposed project was also held. Extension Officers and Scientists of the Board, officers of Agriculture Department and representatives of Rubber Producersí Societies participated in the discussion. The suggestions from the discussion were presented by Mr. Bimal Gosh (Asst. Director of Agriculture, Pala), George Philip(Asst. Director of Agriculture, Erattupetta), Mrs, Magie Merina (Asst. Director of Agriculture, Madappally), Mr. Korah Thomas(Asst. Director of Agriculture, Pampady) and Mrs, Mini Nair (Asst. Director of Agriculture, Kanjirapally)

The scheme proposes to give assistance for intercropping in rubber with fruit and vegetable crops in the initial years of planting. This will be implemented in all districts of Kerala. Intercropping will give additional income to rubber growers and also serve in attaining self sufficiency in vegetable production in the State. Possibility of convergence of schemes for setting up of Rubber Park / Defense Park and assistance for infrastructure facilities to RPSs have also been discussed in the workshop.

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