Is Kerala Moving Backward?Posted: April 8, 2011
11 out of 12 constituencies in Kollam District had LDF MLAs from 2006 to 2011. Five of them were Ministers. And yet, Kollam District ranked 11th among the 14 districts of Kerala on the basis of per capita income (at current prices). Only 3 districts, namely Kasargod, Wayanad and Malappuram lagged behind Kollam. (Source: Economic Review 2010) It is time to classify Kollam as a backward district. This is the contribution of the LDF Ministers and MLAs in a nutshell. Kollam kandaal illam venda ennu pandokke parayumaayirunnu. Ippol athu parayaan vayya.
Kerala’s Cashew production (000’s MT) declined from 57.60 in 2005-2006 to 36.45 in 2009-2010. The area under cashew cultivation (000’s Ha.) was 80.70 in 2005-2006, whereas in 2009-2010 it was only 48.97. (However, the country as a whole showed marginal increase in production.) There was a time when ‘cashew was king’, but we are allowing this sector to die a natural death. Today, we have virtually stopped growing cashew and the industry is resorting to packaging nuts imported from West Africa. Kollam was once a centre of the thriving cashew industry, but today only a handful of companies in the private sector are surviving. Nobody can deny that the industry has tremendous potential, and yet…
Plantation Crops are either export oriented or import substituting and therefore have great importance. Kerala accounts for 91% of the country’s rubber production, that is, roughly 7.3% of the world’s output. This is the only sector that is flourishing. Kerala’s share in the national production of cardamom was 75%, coffee 22% and tea 5% in 2008-2009. Only 5% of the cardamom is exported today, whereas Malabar was once world renowned for the Spice trade. We are unable to face competition from Guatemala, although our cardamom is of superior quality. Tea grown in Vietnam and elsewhere is available at lower prices. So what is the future of our plantation sector? I would say GOK (God Only Knows).