Of the many issues faced by Pokkali, the greatest threat to it has not been the utilization or lack thereof of its GI status, but the loss of cultivable land. The land reclamation projects approved by the Government of Kerala has accelerated this trend. However, recently the Kerala Cabinet had to bow to pressure from various political parties, and environmental groups and revoked its decision to permit reclamation of 47 acres of backwater paddy land in Ernakulam (as well as 420 acres at Kumarakom in Kottayam) .
It is reported that the Cochi Medi City and Tourism Pvt Ltd is claiming that there is a public purpose behind the setting up of the medical tourism venture, in the 47 acres of land in Kadamakudy, one of the primary Pokkali producing areas., however most of the residents that CIPR interacted with in Kadamakkudy were unaware as to how exactly they would be benefited, and was skeptical as to whether there would be any benefit.
The situation on the ground has seen a drastic reduction of the area cultivated of this crop which has been granted GI. It would defeat the purpose of granting such commercial rights such as a GI if there is no one to exercise them, especially when such a situation is fostered by government apathy. Since a GI is also a recognition of the unique nature of a product, a concerted conservation effort must be undertaken in this regard to facilitate the proper use of this crop, the first of which must certainly be the encouragement of its cultivation itself. The government taking a positive interest in such conservation and perhaps even its promotion would go a long way in helping the Pokkali farmers and in promoting a unique resource of Kerala.
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