Kerala Agricultural University | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thrissur: Despite having the potential for generating a revenue of Rs 200 crores per year through farming, the Kerala Agriculture University (KAU) has made no single farm officer appointment (permanent) in the last 13 years.
The last time the university appointed farm officers to fill its 72 vacancies was in 2010. However, there are now 241 vacant positions.
The rationale given was that the university had not gotten final approval from the finance department for recruiting new staff. Currently, the university has 39 farm officers.
The university has over 4,000 acres of land to grow its own crops and become financially self-sufficient. However, because of a staff shortage, the university only fetched Rs 6.16 crores in farming income last year.
With the availability of farm officers and farming expanded to all available land, the university estimates a revenue of Rs 200 crores.
The prerequisite for the position of Farm Officer is a B.Sc Agriculture. Even B.Sc holders in the institution are missing their opportunity to be appointed to vacant posts. Every year, 420 students graduate from the University's B.Sc Agriculture programme.
The university which has 21 research institutes, four instructional farms, and seven knowledge centres is not able to utilize one-fourth of the available land for farming. It has 3637 students, 260 teachers, 224 scientists, and 1114 non-teaching staff.