Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh today appealed to farmers of the state to utilize their paddy fields by growing other vegetables after their rice harvesting starting from this year and not let the fields lie unutilised after the harvesting season.
Biren was speaking at the Distribution cum Demonstration Programme of Farm Machineries and Implements under Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) organised by the department of Agriculture at the City Convention hall on Monday.
He assured setting up a special sub-committee comprising of Agriculture, IFCD, Horticulture, Minor Irrigation and others to look into the issue. He said that a Toll Free Number will be operated to facilitate farmers who are willing to utilise their paddy fields after the rice harvesting season. Seeking the farmers to heed to his call, he assured that the government will ensure provision of the farmers requirements including seeds and water.
Biren also emphasised on the need for water harvesting during the monsoon and at the same time highlighted that ponds are being developed at various locations under the Sarovar Mission.
Further in his speech, the chief minister explained the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat, Self-reliant India and said it is being aggressively implemented across the state in all sectors. “We are also focusing on various sector so that Manipur also contributes in this movement for self-reliance,” he said highlighting the recently held Fish Mela where several fish varieties including indigenous ones were made available and the export of various items including black rice.
“Under the Prime Minister, we have moved forward. It is dream-like that today funds are directly transferred to accounts of the farmers,” he said.
He said a sum of Rs 80 crore has been allocated so that local rice varieties are bought from the farmers and provided again to the people with subsidy from the central government.
He also emphasised on the need to minimise use of chemical fertilizers and instead encourage cattle rearing and organic fertilizer.
Agriculture minister Thongam Biswajit Singh said, “If we deliberate on why we are losing paddy fields, we can see that it is due to non-productivity and the farmers looking for alternatives.”
Today, the government is promoting digital and natural farming and considering ways on how to enhance productivity and increase income of the farmers through use of technology like drone to save the paddy fields, he said.
The Agriculture department is all set to take up four types of demonstrations at different parts of the state including natural farming through use of cow manure, organic farming through use of vermin-compose and others and farming using nano fertilizers and farming using fertilizers so that we can compare the productions.
Biswajit also urged the farmers against excessive use of chemical fertilizers as it leads to several health issues, and to instead focus and encourage natural and organic farmings.
Agriculture commissioner RK Dinesh explained SMAM and said it is centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2014-15 by the ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare.
The main objective of SMAM is to maximise use of mechanisation in farming, he said adding that the power availability per ha is 2kW/ha (approx) in 2013-14 which is to be increased to 4.0 kW/ha by 2022.
He further explained how farmers can avail the scheme and subsidies provided under the scheme.
The chief minister also inspected the farm machineries and Implements and a demonstration of farm drone was showcased as part of the function.
The function was also attended by Hill Area Committee chairman Diganglung Gangmei, and MLAs T. Robindro, Sapam Kunjakeswor Singh, LM Khaute, Kh. Ibomcha, Th. Arunkumar and Dr. Y Radheshyam.
Biren inspected the ongoing preparation for Sangai Festival at Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre and Mapal Kangjeibung (Polo ground).
“Considering the upcoming Sangai Festival, full on efforts are being put in to complete the preparation at all venues in time.” Biren said.