Manipur farmers meeting highlights water insecurity, lack of government support
The ‘Loumeesingi Poinu Meepham 3.0 meeting stressed on the the need to frame water policy, saying that water scarcity is the major problem for farmers in Manipur.
Updated on 10 Dec 2021, 4:03 pm
(File Photo: IFP)
The Irabot Foundation Manipur (IFM) organised the ‘Loumeesingi Poinu Meepham 3.0’ under the theme ‘Agricultural Market Policy of Manipur’ at the Manipur Dramatic Union (MDU) Hall, Imphal West on Thursday. The meeting adopted various resolutions concerning agriculture and farmers.
Resource persons made suggestions and pointed out that many farmers are landless and many are forced to take up loans by mortgaging their homestead land.
The meeting highlighted that there is lack of support from the government for farmers while many farmers do not have pattas and the agriculture department provides fertiliser subsidy only to farmers with patta. Those tilling land for landlords, have difficulty producing patta to secure minimal subsidy.
It was also pointed out that water scarcity is a major problem among the farmers, including those involved in piggery. It was highlighted that Trans Asian Railway works cut off water sources for piggery and farmland in Moidangpok, Maklang areas.
Water Scarcity is also caused by non-functional canals, such as the Dolaithabi canal, Khuga dam canal, Khoupum dam, Loktak lift irrigation canal etc., thus affecting agriculture. The need to frame water policy and to rejuvenate traditional water sources was stressed upon.
They suggest that there is a need to reconsider the unsustainable development practices that promoted the alienation of land, including agriculture land, wetlands, forest and other food sources.
Lack of market, storage, cold storage, and roads posed problems for farmers to sell their produce. It was pointed out that 70 per cent of people are farmers in Manipur, and 70 – 80 per cent in hills suffer problems of marketing, lack of road, storage, exploitation by traders and there is insecurity of loss.
Resource persons said that Manipur reels with impacts of food imports. The implementation of the National Security Act and PDS scheme has led to infusion of cheap agricultural products from other states in Manipur.
Subsequently, the price of local rice has gone down, posing much hardship and misery to farmers. The government needs to regulate the import of agriculture projects, including poultry, piggery, cattery from other states and countries.
Import of pigs and poultry from other states and Burma has led to diseases such as swine flu, bird flu etc in Manipur.
They also commented that the dumping of cheap agriculture products from outside Manipur will affect the work culture in Manipur. The high input cost of agriculture as compared to the output will discourage many farmers to grow their own crop. This will be a setback for agriculture growth in Manipur.
It was further pointed out NFSA or PDS directly affecting indigenous food production systems and promotion of indigenous crops.
The morning session was attended by president of Irabot Foundation Manipur, Thongam Ajit; director of agriculture, N Gojendro; joint director, K Debadutta Sharma of Department of Horticulture presented the resource sharing on the topic, ‘Agricultural Market Policy of Manipur’.
A panel discussion on the topic, ‘Agricultural Market Policy of Manipur’ was also organised during the evening session.
The panel discussion was moderated by Jiten Yumnam of CRA, Manipur. Several farmers from Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tamenglong, Imphal East district attended in the presence of president of AMUCO, general secretary of Irabot Foundation, among others.