Winter crops likely to wilt under blockade heat
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 03 2011:
Disturbance caused to transportation of winter (Rabi) crop seeds as a consequence of economic blockade called on the National Highways is likely to have its fallout on the production of vegetables, according to the Horticulture Department.
A source in the department said distribution of rabi crop seeds to farmers in all the district are usually completed by October month every year.
However, imposition of blockade for prolonged period has severely disrupted transportation of the seeds from outside the State resulting in the Department yet to finalise distribution of seeds to the farmers even though it is the first week of November.
While informing that negligible quantity of cabbage and bean seeds have started to arrive, the source stated that the Department has no stock of cauliflower, onion and several other varieties of beans.
It is also informed that due to risk of plying vehicles during bandh/blockade period, transporters have been reluctant to ship vegetable seeds inspite of increasing number of farmers from all corners of the State demanding that the rabi crop seeds be provided to them.
The annual programme of the Horticulture Department to distribute rabi crop seeds to selected beneficiaries under the District Horticulture Officer is also likely to be derailed as no allocation order could be finalised due to stock inadequacy, disclosed the source.
Stating that every district has 300-400 farmer beneficiaries to whom the rabi seeds are supposed to be allocated to farmers possessing one hectare cultivable land, the source said while disclosing that most farmers in the State do not have such large land.
The source also informed under Technology Mission programme of the Government the State Horticulture Department has to procure rabi crop seeds of Rs 1 crore and the same supposed to be provided to the beneficiary farmers at subsidised rate.
However, taking into account the economic status of the farmers, most of whom are poor, the winter crop seeds have to be provided free of cost, the source maintained and contended that distribution of seeds is not immune from politics.
Substantiating the assertion, the source said it has become a routine of late for MLAs/Ministers to exert pressure on Horticulture Department officials to ensure that farmers of their choices are allocated hybrid seeds, the cost of which ranges in between Rs 1000 to Rs 33,000 per kg.
Reiterating that in case of continuation of bandh or blockade it would have severe impact upon the winter crop productivity, the source said inspite of difficulties faced by the Department efforts are on to assist the farmers in the form of conducting training programme.
Stating that a farmers' training programme is currently underway, the source said some varieties of winter crop seeds are being provided to the trainee farmers and hoped that the situation improves to facilitate bountiful production of winter crops.