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State to promote Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System

State to promote Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala, the recipient of FAO's recognition for its 'Below Sea Level Farming System' at Kuttanad is planning to set up a heritage museum and a research centre for the much praised agricultural system.

"We are planning to establish a heritage museum for Kuttanad agriculture and a Centre for Genetic Resources for Sea Water and Below Sea Level Farming at Mankompu," Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

He was addressing the 25th anniversary of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here, where he was handed over the FAO's plaque of recognition for the unique farming system, which has now been certified as globally important agricultural heritage system.

Kerala has also sanctioned funds for establishing an International Research and Training Institute for Below Sea Level Farming, he said.

"This Institute, which is attracting the attention of many countries, particularly small island states like Maldives, will have a major sustainable Agriculture Research Centre at Mankompu and a Sustainable Fisheries Centre at Kumarakom," Chandy said.

He said that the FAO recognition emphasised that efforts should be redoubled to protect and further develop the unique ecosystem as well as the below sea lavel farming system.

"This has become particularly urgent, since an important consequence of global warming and climate change will be a rise in sea level," the Chief Minister said.

He also thanked Swaminathan and staff in the Foundation for their help in preparing Kuttanad Eco-Revitalisation Package and the documentation, which led to the FAO recognition.

Terming the Kuttanad agriculture as "unique," he said that paddy fields neat the Vembanadu lake were established by farmers about 150 years ago, often 2.5 to three metre below the sea level.

"Unlike Holland, where concrete dykes were constructed to keep the sea water away, the Kuttanad farmers developed 'bio bunds' constructed from coir, banana waste, bamboo, clay and other locally available material," he said.


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