A few farmers are pictured above.
The Ministry of Agriculture is noting a steady increase in people going into small-scale or subsistence farming.
Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Doctor Vinesh Kumar says an additional 13,000 people have opted for farming, joining the 80,000 farmers recorded in the agricultural census in 2020.
Kumar says the challenge now for the ministry is to upgrade these farmers to the semi-commercial stage to boost production as well as import substitution efforts.
“The government as well as the ministry is trying to see if we can leverage to more of a semi-commercial and commercial level whereby they could also look into addressing the shortfalls and gaps we have, especially in the key commodities like rice, we’re still importing a lot of rice.”
Kumar says the large subsistence farming base provides livelihoods for many households, something the Ministry is looking to capitalize on for the welfare of those involved.
The PS says the ministry is also noting an increase in number of imports of oranges and apples and works are underway to introduce orchards for guava as a substitute.