Manipur Agriculture Minister Th Biswajit on Friday said oil palm cultivation will not only improve the economy of the state but also the general environment of the area where it is cultivated.
Biswajit was speaking at the inauguration of District Agriculture Fair at State Mechanized Farm Complex, Lamphelpat, Imphal West on Friday.
The fair is organised by Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) in association with District Agriculture Office, Imphal West.
The fair seeks to provide a platform for the farmers to showcase their products and give exposure for marketing of the crops.
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The minister said the government plans to take up oil palm cultivation at the barren foothills of the state with an integrated farming system.
He further said, other countries might have faced a negative impact from oil palm cultivation owning to unsuitable local conditions whereas in Manipur it would have a positive impact on the environment.
Experts need to share the knowledge regarding the pros and cons of the plantation of palm oil trees in the state for a proper implementation of the scheme, he added.
Regarding chemical fertilizers he said, there is more than enough stock of fertilizers at present for distribution to farmers at subsidised rates, and they will be distributed after proper verification to the deserving farmers.
Biswajit said that the agriculture department has been facing many issues for the past many years and the government is keen on streamlining the loopholes.
The government is committed to curb the issues concerning fertilisers and stringent action will be taken up if there is any misuse during distribution of the fertilisers, he added.
Biswajit further appealed to the farmers not to mislead the officials while collecting their share of fertilisers. He said, use of new technology in farming will increase the yield and boost the economy of the state.
If the rate of production is increased, the state can export the products which in turn will help in developing the country as a whole.
He stressed on the necessity of modification of government guidelines concerning farming activities according to applicability of the areas and such modification will benefit both the government and the farming community.
The proposal has been put up to bore as many as 120 tube-wells in areas where there is scarcity of water and these areas will be a model for double cropping.
Emphasis will be given in cultivation of crops like potatoes, mustard, peas which have demand in the market, he added.
He encouraged the use of nano-fertilisers to enhance farm production and environmental sustainability. Production of organic crops is the need of the hour to have a healthy society, he said.
The minister said that organising the fair will provide a platform for the farmers to showcase their productivity and exposure for marketing of the crops. Buyers of Chakhao have come forward and talks are going on for marketing after thorough research of its nutritional value, he said.
The state-level crop competition will be revived under a new scheme, he said and exhorted the officials and the farmers to be innovative and responsible to make a self-reliant India.
Exhibitors of District Agriculture Fair 2022 include Imphal West District line departments; schemes from the department of Agriculture; input dealers of Imphal West and Farmer Group Stall of Imphal West. Altogether, 23 stalls were opened to showcase the various activities of these exhibitors.
Minister Biswajit, along with the officials, inspected the stalls and also interacted with the stall representatives.
Under ATMA Scheme, Best Farmers Group Award, Seed Money Award and Food Security Award for the year 2021-22 and Inputs were also distributed. Best Farmers Group Award comprising a citation along with a cash award of Rs. 20,000 each was given to five farmer groups.
The Seed Money Award and the Food Security Group Award were given to four farmer groups each. The award comprises a citation and a cash award of Rs 10,000 each respectively. The cash award will be given through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the awardees.
To address the issues of the farmers and bridge the communication gap, the department has installed a toll-free line for farmers to share their grievances through the Toll-Free No. 1800-345-3822.
A technical session was also conducted where the farmers interacted with the scientists regarding the improvement and applications of new technology in production of crops.
The function was attended by Lamshang MLA S Rajen Singh, commissioner of agriculture M Joy and director of agriculture N Gojendro.