In a big relief to the farming community in Meghalaya, the state government on Thursday announced its decision to lift the ban on the use of fertilisers and to extend a 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for procurement of such fertilisers.
However, the government at the same time decided to further promote organic farming by increasing awareness of the need to replace the use of fertilisers.
The decision was based on the repeated request of the farmers’ association after the ban on fertilisers, which was imposed since 2014, had affected the production capacity and the income generation of the farming community in Meghalaya.
After meeting the delegation of the farmers’ association on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said that the government has decided to lift the ban imposed by the government under the leadership of Mukul Sangma way back in 2014 on the supply of fertilisers to the state of Meghalaya.
He informed that on August 9, the Agriculture department had already issued a notification that supplying fertilizers in Meghalaya is now allowed adding that “the concerned stakeholders, the farmers, can now procure these fertilisers.”
He said that fertiliser is a controlled item as it is being regulated by the Ministry of fertiliser, the government of India.
Tynsong further informed that he along with Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma will also take up aggressively with the concerned ministry in Delhi next week for the creation of a separate quota for the state of Meghalaya for the smooth supply of fertilisers.
These fertilisers will be ultimately routed through the Meghalaya State Cooperative Marketing and Consumers' Federation Limited (MeCOFED), which falls under the cooperation department.
He also said the crisis of fertilisers right from 2014 till today had compelled all farmers to ultimately procure fertilizer from the black market or illegally and the price has gone up maybe four-five times from the basic price.
The deputy chief minister further announced the government’s decision to extend a 50 per cent subsidy for the procurement of fertilisers.
“They requested the state government to also again extend the subsidy of the fertilizers. I have already informed them that the government has also taken a decision in a meeting with the CM that 50 per cent subsidy will be extended to the farmers who procure these fertilizers,” he said adding “If the price of fertilizer is Rs 500 per kg then Rs 250 will be borne by the state government and Rs 250 will be borne by the concerned farmers.”
He informed that the notification in this regard will be issued by the cooperation department next week.
Asked by what percentage the production has been affected due to the ban on fertilizers, Tynsong said, “By and large we found out that the production percentage has gone down right from 2014 till today. For example, if one farmer produces 100 kg of potato when they apply fertilizers but minus fertilizers that production percentage has gone down to 60 kgs only. Some of them are 50 kgs so the reduction is so huge that the hue and cry of the farmers are highly justified. Therefore, the government has taken this decision.”
The deputy chief minister, however, said though the government has taken this decision the Agriculture department has been asked to create more awareness to provide more workshops and seminars at the grassroots level to find out ways and means for replacement of fertilizers in due course of time.
“I should say this is the transitional period where the farmers also have to find out ways and means with the help of technologies and specialist agriculture officers I am sure we will be able to find a replacement for the usage of fertilizers,” he added.
To another query, Tynsong responded, “That is why I am telling you we have done it from 2014 till today organic farming was being practised but when we calculate all the detailed census we found out that the production has reduced drastically. When the production reduces, the income generation of the farmers also drastically reduces.”