No permit for Pepsi for contract rice farming in Kerala

Kozhikode (Kerala), June 23 (IANS) The Kerala government will not allow multinational Pepsi to start contract farming of rice in the state, Agriculture Minister Mulakara Ratnakaran said Wednesday.

Ratnakaran said this in response to a statement made by Additional Chief Secretary T. Balakrishnan that Pepsi would begin contract farming of rice in Palakkad district before the end of this year.

‘To the best of my knowledge, we are not at all aware of such a project and moreover, the government policy is against any contract farming which uses hybrid seeds or genetically monitored products. So at no cost sanction would be given to Pepsi for contract farming,’ Ratnakaran told reporters.

Balakrishnan had made the statement at a seminar last month. He had landed himself in trouble earlier when he said that Kerala was the only state in the country where the bottling plant of Coke was closed down.

‘He is in charge of industries and he is free to air opinions in that sector but as far as agriculture is concerned we will go only by approved policies of the government. And for a project of contract farming to take place it has to get the clearance of both the agriculture and revenue ministries,’ said Ratnakaran.

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