A thought on healthier future
- Imphal Times Editorial :: April 05 2017 -
Manipur is basically an agrarian economy, with more than 70 percent of its population engaging in and earning their livelihood from agricultural related activities.
This is not to say that the economy is flourishing or self-dependent as a result.
The ground reality cannot be further from the assumptions and official projections which portray a well-supported and managed sector.
In fact, most of the people engaged in agriculture and other allied activities in the state are marginal farmers, who, for want of a better and more profitable economic activity, have resorted to farming to supplement their earnings.
That the agricultural policy of the state is in shambles and is in urgent need of a revamp would be a serious understatement.
And to make things worse, the state has unerringly failed to provide the much needed subsidized fertilizers and other resources for the farmers in time and in adequate quantity, the increasingly unpredictable climate adding to the woes.
Tales of unavailability of raw materials like fertilizers, seeds and equipments when needed the most have been a common and regular occurrence in the state for the past many years.
This year also will be no different, if one goes by the experiences of the past, in 2015 the then state cabinet resolved to stock up 15,000 MT of urea fertilizers as buffer stock for the summer crops, an amount which is estimated to fulfil the requirements of the state.
Incidentally, a similar resolution was taken by the cabinet in 2014 for which an amount of ‘ 4.48 crores were sanctioned, the same as in the year 2015.
Ironically, only about 13,000 MT were brought in by the transporters, out of which only around 10,000 MT were distributed to the farmers under the Government subsidy scheme.
The discrepancies in transportation and subsidies thereof made available to the transporters were noted.
If it is to ensure timely and adequate availability of fertilizers to the farmers, have still to tackle various other issues including, amongst others, transportation charges, safety of the transporters etc.
in the light of these overwhelming obstacles being faced by the state in bringing in such essential resources year after year, it is perplexing to see that the state Government is still not ready, or rather unable to think out of the box and draw up options which could mitigate such perennial problems for good.
The most obvious option would be to set up fertilizer plants, more specifically organic fertilizer plants in the state.
This will not only solve the problem of timely availability, but also kick start a new industrial sector enabling at the very least, a few thousands of educated unemployed talents to be gainfully occupied, while simultaneously reducing the increasing dependence of the farmers on chemical fertilizers which has been proven to be harmful to our health.
Another added benefit would be the utilization of organic wastes into the production of beneficial fertilizers, thus reducing garbage in the state.
Such a move will also induce the public to take up family level production of organic fertilizers and increase their awareness of the impact of such products on their health.
But most importantly, this step, if implemented, can prove to be the game changer by ushering in a sustainable and never-ending organic green revolution in the state.
What remains to be seen is the earnest effort and willingness of the present Government to take up the challenge.
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