Kanhangad: Festivities started early at Thuluchery, where the local temple committee organised the local people to till the vast paddy fields. The harvest was inaugurated by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his wife Kamala.
The 22 acres of land near Kanhangad had been left fallow for 22 years. The farmers expect to harvest much more than the 10 tons of rice needed to feed the people attending the Theyyam festival at the Wayanattu Kulavan Devasthanam at Kottacheri.
The harvest was made all the more festive with the participation of the chief minister and revenue minister E Chandrasekharan. Though the organisers had arranged a harvesting machine, Pinarayi decided to work the traditional way. Armed with a sickle, he got into the field and harvested the rice grains.
Pinarayi said that all available land in Kerala should be tilled and sowed. He said that farmers need not stick to rice when it comes to using fallow land. He also called for the formation of collectives to farm the land.
He said that the agricultural sector in Kerala has received a lift after the introduction of the Haritha Keralam Mission. He said that the people of Kerala were slowly returning to the traditional cultivating culture, which encouraged farmers to produce rice wherever possible and vegetables in other places.
Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) director P Chowdappa was also present at the function. The central agency has offered a subsidy of Rs 85,000 to the farming initiative at Thuluchery, while the Ajanoor Krishi Bhawan pumped in as much as Rs 2.13 lakh as state subsidy.
Kanhandad municipal chairman V V Ramesan, Ajanoor panchayat president P Damodaran, principal agricultural officer R Usha Devi, Bengaluru ATRI director Dr P Chandre Gowda, Kerala Agricultural University official Dr Jiji P Alex, Kanhangad municipality standing committee chairperson Ganga Radhakrishnan, Ajanoor panchayat standing committee chairperson M V Raghavan, Krishi Vinjan Kendra principal scientist Dr T S Manoj Kumar, Kannur Krishi Vinjan Kendra programme coordinator Prof Dr P Jayaraj, C Rajan Periya, Venugopalan Nambiar, Kannan Kunji, Metro Muhammed Haji, N V Aravindakshan Nair, Venu Gopalan, C V Gangadharan, Sasi Kumar, Gangadharan Chalinkal, Venu Raj Kodoty and Kumaran Aishwarya spoke on the occasion.