Agriculture dept. has plans to help affected farmers — official
Kohima, July 16 (EMN): In the wake of deficient rainfall that has affected farmers in Nagaland state this year, the department of Agriculture has asserted that it would make alternative arrangements to help farmers for the probable loss.
While the erratic rainfall has affected farmers in several parts of the state, those in Kohima, Dimapur and Phek districts, where wet terrace rice cultivation (WTRC) and terrace rice cultivation (TRC) are practised, have been affected more as they could not transplant their paddy fields due to water scarcity.
In an interaction with Eastern Mirror, an official from Agriculture department, who wished not to be named, said that they have plans up their sleeve to help farmers. In worst-case scenario, it is ready to provide seeds, pulses, cereals, oil seeds, and even winter rice to farmers, it was informed.
Earlier in June, office of the agriculture production commissioner had said that Agri. & Allied department was planning to distribute seeds for rabi season from the month of September and October to compensate the farmers for the anticipated loss.
Normally, Agriculture department distributes seeds to farmers twice in a year- kharif and rabi crops. Kharif crops seed including rice are distributed to farmers by first week of May while rabi crops are distributed by September, the official said.
Now, rabi seeds are not readily available in the state as the department has to procure certified seeds from corporations outside the state, except for kholar (kidney beans). Kharif seed for the year has already been distributed to farmers in May, whereas rabi seeds will be made available by September only, the source added.
The official observed that farmers have to find some alternative between these periods in case erratic rainfall continues. From department’s end, whatever seeds need to be given has been distributed already and next batch is yet to arrive, the source added.
During this transitional farming period (June-August) in the state, farmers are more or less, left on their own to survive or wait on showers of blessing, as the department could not do much to assist.
On rice transplanting, the official said that more than one month nursery of rice seeds is not advisable for transplanting. Once the nursery is overgrown, the production quality will reduce. Normally, 25 to 30 days of rice seeds nursery is advisable or suitable time for transplanting. Thus, the final solution for farmers, the source said, would be ‘direct seeding, line sowing and broadcasting method’.
Farmers had earlier said that if rainfall didn’t arrive by the second week of August, their rain-fed lands would be left barren for the year.
As alternative measure, the official from Agriculture department said that the quantity of rabi seeds distribution to the affected farmers would be increased this time, adding that seeds once arrived will be distributed to the respective district and sub-divisions, depending on area, needs and climatic condition.
Some farmers from Phek and Kohima districts have told this newspaper that they are yet to come across the department making field assessment and survey.
On this, the official said that detailed instruction had been given to officers in the districts and sub-divisions for strict compliance. However, if responsible officers do not follow the instructions, action will be taken against them at the directorate level.
However, the way forward is to be alert and be prepared to face such unforeseen disaster in future by both the department and farmers community.
The official suggested that farmers immediately report to the department if situation like draught arises so that necessary actions could be taken, adding that agricultural assistants and field assistants were there to help the farmers.
It was learnt that assessment on affected farmers due to deficient rainfall is underway and would soon be made available.
It may be mentioned that a core committee of Agri. & Allied departments headed by the agriculture production commissioner was constituted earlier in June to monitor and review the ground situation.