TODAY -

Fertiliser supply: Govt assures, farmers unsatisfied
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 29, 2022 -



WITH exception of the government, its so-called allies and department officials, all the farmers' bodies, civil organisations and political parties seem to be not impressed with the authorities' claim that there will be no shortage of fertilizers in the state for paddy crops.

There must be some valid reason for the farmers' organisations to level accusation against the government that this year too the same old story of the food producers facing shortage of the essential agricultural ingredient would be re-enacted.

Moreover, the CPI Manipur Council staging protest on the same issue on Monday, days after the minister concerned as well as director of Agriculture Department went public that there is sufficient stock of urea fertilizer, also drives home the point that the government must prove fair and adequate distribution of fertilizers instead of sticking to the claim that the farmers need not frown over availability of fertilisers.

For the record, last year the then agriculture minister Oinam Lukhoi asserted that over one lakh bags of urea fertilisers had been made available to farmers of the state but such a claim evoked sharp reaction from individual food producers and farmers' groups who/which voiced remorse over shortage of the same when they are most needed.

Apart from organisations, including civil societies whose activities are irrelevant to the agricultural sector, a cooperative society involved in livestock farming, agriculture and social forestry negated the then minister's claim and urged the government to ensure adequate availability of fertilisers to the farmers, thereby summing up the same sorry state of the old tale.

Compared to last year, when Covid-19 pandemic impeded agricultural works and created problems for transportation of state's quota of fertilisers, which could be attributed to shortage of the same, there is no foreseeable reason this time in case the government cannot ensure that the farmers concentrate on their traditional activities rather than ranting at the government over their hardships in acquiring a bag or two of fertiliser.

Having claimed that there will be no issue on fertilizer supply for the prime agricultural season this year, it is imperative that the government, the Agriculture Department in particular, make arrangement for an effective distribution mechanism under which farmers need not stand in long queues and waste precious time as was the case during the pandemic-hit months' in last two years.

Unless the government could ensure adequate and timely availability of urea to the farmers, it is obvious that the state can never achieve the target of self-reliance in food. As agriculture remains the backbone of Manipuri's vapid economy and about 80 per cent of the state's total population is engaged in agriculture and allied activities, the department concerned is duty-bound to extend maximum assistance to the farmers.

The department too cannot brush aside apprehension of the farming fraternity over possible man-made shortage of fertilisers, especially in the backdrop of six trucks loaded with fertilisers seized in a border village under Churachandpur district, while the consignment was being smuggled into Myanmar.

If at all the government succeeds in the simple task of preventing smuggling and black-marketing of fertilisers, then it is certain that neither the CPI nor the farmers' bodies would create an issue on the matter.



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