Known as the rice bowl of Kerala, Kuttanad region the crop is grown below the sea level (Pic. Courtesy wikimedia commons)
Kerala’s well-known Kuttanad rice is going to hit the international market and for that the building of the integrated rice technology park at Mulakuzha in Alappuzha district is being carried out at fast pace. Once the project is completed, the State Government intends to produce this particular brand of rice called Kuttanad and also its value-added products at this park. Rice will also be procured from the farmers of the region directly by the park.
Kuttanad is a region which covers Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala. This historically important place in the ancient history of South India is known as the rice bowl of Kerala. The history of paddy cultivation in Kuttanad can be traced back centuries. It is one of the few places in the world where rice farming is carried four to 10 feet below the sea level. The Food and Agriculture Organisation has declared Kuttanad farming system as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System.
The rice park is coming up on 5.22 acres of land which is in the possession of Prabhuram Mills under the Kerala State Textile Corporation at a cost of Rs.36 crore. It is being constructed by the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.
At the park modern machinery will be installed with the view to market the rice and its value-added products in the international market. It will have a storage capacity of 5,000 tonnes of paddy. In one hour about 5 tonnes of paddy can be processed in the park and around 24,000 tonnes in a year.
Once the park is ready it will provide a major impetus to paddy cultivation, procurement and processing in the region. The park will be immensely helpful to the farmers of the Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Kollam districts as paddy procured from them will be processed at the park thus reaching the Indian and international market bypassing private mills.
Sharing details about the park, Saji Cherian, Kerala Minister for Fisheries, Culture and Youth Affairs said that the park will encourage the farmers as they will get good prices for their product. He said in the next phase rice flour, rice flakes, and tin food will be manufactured at the park. These will be sold through Supplyco or State Civil Supplies Corporation and Consumerfed or Kerala State Cooperative Consumers Federation.