Exclusive

A Confused State

IFP Editorial: For lack of a sound and sustainable agricultural policy, today’s farmers heavily depend on chemical fertilisers. And we are yet to understand the priorities of the government with regard to chemical fertilisers and going organic all the way.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 13 Jun 2022, 5:07 am

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

 

It was rather strange that Agriculture Minister Th Bishwajit should speak about chemical fertilisers at a function related to sustainable organic farming.

Biswajit was speaking to the media during the launch of Direct Beneficiary Transfer to 7,000 registered farmers under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) at his office chamber.

Yes, scarcity of chemical fertilisers occurs every year and it always turns into a controversy.

We wonder, whether the minister was properly briefed on the Organic Mission as against the prevailing practice of widespread use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture.

For lack of a sound and sustainable agricultural policy, today’s farmers heavily depend on chemical fertilisers. And we are yet to understand the priorities of the government with regard to chemical fertilisers and going organic all the way.

In a world where climate change is slowly taking control, the farmers are often left at the mercy of the erratic weather and unpredictable seasonal rains. Add to that, the government’s apathy or say indifference towards the plight of the farmers during the season.

Advertisement

The season for planting of seeds and transplanting paddy begins in June with the onset of monsoon.

The monsoon season has officially begun, but still not enough rains though the pre-monsoon downpour was quite heavy. Add to that, the problem of cash shortage among the farmers and rising prices of paddy seeds and fertilisers.

Manipur’s soil had long been known for its fertility and distinctive flavour in agricultural produce be it in rice or vegetables. Now, that has become a thing of the past and the soil has become quite addictive to chemical fertilisers. 

Despite the huge need of fertilisers, there is only one distribution centre for fertilisers per district and farmers had to wait in long queues for availing the fertiliser.

Last year, the state government entrusted district deputy commissioners with the task of availing fertilisers to farmers and at centres other than the district headquarters which was a good move. We all know, some MLAs and powerful politicians are stockpiling fertilisers for distribution among his constituents and this is an important factor for the scarcity of fertilisers at a time when it is most needed.

There is an urgent need to de-politicise fertiliser distribution which should involve the district administration and district-level agriculture officers.

New Agriculture Minister Thongam Bishwajit Singh has come up with a wonderful idea.

In an effort to avoid fertiliser shortage issues during crop season he has instructed concerned officials to issue chemical fertilisers to farmers only after conducting field verification.

Advertisement

As per the Centre’s instruction, chemical fertilisers can be issued to farmers after conducting soil testing of the respective paddy field.

The intent of the minister is appreciated. However, questions on practicability of the idea are still there. It is going to be a gigantic task for the officials and staff of the agriculture department.

The task of soil testing and physical verification of the paddy fields is underway. On the other hand, it is imperative for the new minister and the department concerned to understand the woes faced by the farmers in this poor state of ours. First, most of the agricultural lands belong to the rich folks either in Imphal and other urban areas while the farmers are poor and depend on investments by the landowners.

There is always the problem of cash shortage or lack of capital for beginning agriculture activities. Manipur farmers are mostly poverty stricken and indebted. So, they depend on investments from the urban people in the form of ‘Phoudamshel’ and the landowners.

Agriculture in the state is still being practiced at a subsistence level as a survival for the poor and landless farmer. This important factor had to be taken into account while framing any agricultural policy, be it in terms of distribution of seeds or fertilisers besides irrigation facilities.

There were problems when the distribution of seeds or fertiliser is based on production of patta copies of ownership of the paddy fields they are tilling.

Perhaps, a complete overhaul of the directorate is needed and we should begin by entrusting agriculture professionals with the leadership of the directorate instead of non-technical persons, who simply does not understand the intricacies of agriculture.

Read More | Editorial

Advertisement

First published:13 Jun 2022, 5:07 am

Tags:

farmersagricultureth biswajitfertiliserorganic mission

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

Advertisement

Top Stories

Loading data...
Advertisement

IFP Exclusive

Loading data...
Advertisement

Feedback

Have a complaint, a suggestion or just some feedback about our content? Please write to onlineifp@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to address it.