Kerala farm bureau is hiring as many as 500 more staff to help grow food for rural areas

KERALA: Kerala farm department is hiring at least 500 more farm workers as it looks to hire more staff and to tackle the shortage of farm workers in the state, a senior official said on Thursday.

The state government’s Food and Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMMA) is looking at the possibility of hiring at the rate of 500 farm workers every month, a source in the department told ET.

The official said the agency is considering the issue of vacancies in farm sector after the government announced in July that it was hiring 3,000 new farm workers.

The increase in recruitment was seen as an attempt to address the problem of rural unemployment in Kerala, which has a workforce of 1.5 million, said the source.

The source added that the government had also sought inputs from the state government on the viability of the sector and if a decision could be taken to bring it to the central government’s priority list.FAMDA had in May last year announced a programme to recruit 4,000 farm workers and have them work in agricultural produce manufacturing sectors like cotton, rice, sugar cane, bananas, tomatoes and vegetables.

In the past five years, the number of farmers have increased by more than 10 lakhs, but the number working in these sectors has declined.

A major problem in the agricultural sector is that many rural labourers are unable to join the ranks of agricultural workers due to poor pay and the inability to get a job after a short stint of employment.

The government has also proposed a scheme to attract more young farm workers from other states.

The government has set up a youth wing at the agriculture department to help in the recruitment of these youngsters.

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