Despite modern day technology infiltrating deep into our lives and offering us different forms of information within arm’s reach, if there is any place in India where radio continues to thrive, it is Kerala.
Call it a dyed-in-the-wool habit or keeping in touch with older, simpler times, you will still find people in the state tuning into the timeless radio, for more than just entertainment—they focus on important news and announcements.
Banking on the same device to reach out to thousands in the state, the Kerala government is gearing up to unleash its first-ever community radio—one that is exclusively chalked down for farmers and the agrarian community.
Some of the primary reasons for the state to launch such an initiative are concerns like dwindling farmlands, a lesser number of people taking up agriculture as a livelihood and giving up agriculturally suitable land away for commercial purposes.
The Kuttanad Farm Radio will reportedly be the first community radio in the country pieced together under a government initiative, that aims to reach out to the farming community and supply them with relevant updates on climate change and environment issues, agrarian crises and alerts, and information on various aspects of agriculture that every farmer would require.
As the name suggests, starting next month, the radio will begin broadcasting from the sylvan town in the Alappuzha district, which was once known as the ‘rice bowl of Kerala,’ for its vast, endless stretches of paddy fields.
Apparently, Kuttanad is one of the few places in the world where below sea-level farming is being carried out successfully.
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After gauging how the radio fares in its pilot phase, the government plans on starting similar community radios in areas recognised as ‘special agricultural zones’ in Kerala.
The community radio is expected to reach out to farmers within a 20 square kilometre radius in Kuttanad region and will employ professionals to manage the radio programmes.
“The community radio would be launched under the Farm Information Bureau (FIB) of the state Agriculture Department. We are considering this as a platform to interact directly with farmers and get connected with them. It will be the first such community radio for farmers in the country under the government initiative,” said state Agricultural Minister VS Sunil Kumar, reports Mathrubhumi.
With the sole aim of reaching out to more people and creating awareness about farming amongst them, the procedure for the launch of the radio is progressing at a smooth pace. The state government has applied for the sanction from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and is awaiting the approval for the same.
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Alongside this move, the agricultural department is working out on plans to bring out more agro-centric programmes through state-run broadcasters like Doordarshan and All India Radio.
Once known for its vast paddy fields and agrarian legacy, Kerala has been observing a steep decline in agriculture production with more farmers converting traditional farmlands for commercial purposes in recent years.
Kuttanad Farm Radio is amongst the various programmes initiated by the incumbent government to revive the agriculture sector and encourage more people to take up farming.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)