By Babie Shirin & Phurailatpam Keny Devi
IMPHAL | Oct 29 (IFP): “I am having sleepless nights as my crops have failed. Rice cultivation is the only source of income and I am the soul earner in the family. I am at lost thinking how I am going to make ends meet”.
This was stated by a distressed farmer of Poroupat Loukol, Imphal East, who cultivates around 1.25 hectares of paddy field, in a sample survey carried out by the IFP following crop failure particularly in the same district and other parts of the valley.
When asked whether he enjoyed any farmers’ welfare scheme, such as crop insurance, implemented under the state and the central government, he said, “It is really frustrating as the officials of the department concerned are often unhelpful. Besides, we don’t have time to run from one table to another”.
He continued, “Our coming days will be very difficult if rice is not properly distributed under the National Food Security Act as we are going to face acute shortage of rice”. He also pointed out that adhoc measures taken up by the government are not going to help the farmers. “What we need is proper irrigation system as a long-term policy”, he added.
It may be mentioned that despite the state government’s effort to control drought-like situation many farmers are facing crop failure. Moreover pest attack on the crops has added more cups of woes to the already distressed farmers.
According to the IFP survey, farmers of Huikup and Andro are some of the worse hit in the Imphal East district. Expressing concern, farmers of Huikap Makha Leikai maintained that around 100 hectares of paddy field of Poroupat Loukol will not yield a single crop this year due to shortages of water.
On the other hand, around 70 hectares of crop land of Poroupat Loukol Kangfal has been attacked by a pest called ‘army worm’, they said, adding that they are not aware of the initiative taken up by state government to control pest attack and drought like situation.
Maibam Sunil, secretary of Loumi Sinmee Apunba Lup (LOUSAL), said the state government’s intervention is ‘too little too late’. “Unless all the line departments of agricultural sector are coordinated, farmers of the state will suffer. Therefore there is a need of keeping agriculture and allied sector under one ministry”, he pointed out.
General secretary of Bharath Kishan Sangh Manipur Prant, Telem Dara said that despite farming is the primary source of income of the state, there is no mechanism to identify real farmers till date. Unless this problem is addressed, development in agricultural sector will be very slow, he added.
Dara further urged the state government to make some alternative arrangement like livestock rearing which will compensate the loss faced by farmers
According to LOUSAL crops in Lamlai, Thamnapokpi, Seijang, Yaingangpokpi, Tellou Chana, Pourabi and Lamboi Khul areas are also affected in the Imphal East district. And as per Bharath
Kishan Sangh Manipur Prant’s assessment Oinam, Kumbi, Wangoo, Khundrakpam, Lamlai, Konthoujam, Sagoltongba and Lamlai are some of the areas where crop failure are found.
It may also be mentioned that as per report from directorate of Agriculture, the total rice cultivated land in valley district is 1.6 lac hectares. Out of it, 4601 hectares are facing water scarcity problem whereas another 7244 hectares are hit with non-flowering of crops.
The department has been estimating that the crop yield may reduce to around 5.5 lac MT from the target rate of 7 lac MT.
On contrary to it, some of the farmers’ organisations claimed that according to their own survey, the yield may fall around 50 percent from expected amount.
Director of agriculture, Pheiroijam Rajen Singh, speaking to IFP said that due to natural calamities, crop yield will be reduced to some extent. To meet the shortage, the department will seriously focus in Rabi crop, he said.
He also stated that department has taken up the stringent steps which will identify real farmers of the state. This will help to deliver the farmers’ welfare scheme to real beneficiaries. “Once this process is completed, some positive changes will surely be seen in agricultural sector of the state,” he added.