GUWAHATI, Aug 21 - The Advisory Committee for Revitalization of the State�s Economy in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic situation has warned that a substantial population engaged in the agriculture sector might abandon agro practices if loss compensation and income doubling options were not put in place within a reasonable timeframe.
If the local farmers and youths were not retained in farming by providing necessary support from seed to market �this sector of primary economy of the State might slip to ecological migrants�, the panel report stated and suggested that it is the right time to frame effective policies and strategies with the agenda for increasing food production and doubling the farmers� income � immediately from the ongoing kharif season.
Calling for strengthening the local food production chain and to augment its ability to respond and plan timely to procure and market the farmers� produce for avoiding losses, it noted that the disruption of national and global food supply chain could trigger a severe food crisis in the State and the region.
Terming non-availability of real-time commodity-wise data on acreage covered, quantity produced and prices for precise assessment of the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown as a �major weakness�, the report said that unpreparedness to face the crisis in the livestock sector caused distress sale/killing of birds and scarcity of quality eggs, etc.
�Limited awareness among the farming community about the impending impact of the disease on the supply chain of their produce and inadequate infrastructure, such as cold storage facility, led to loss and wastage of fruits and vegetables,� it noted.
The panel pointed out that there was scope for attaining self-sufficiency in food production and even going beyond to capture regional, national and global food markets.
�There are emerging prospects to promote secondary agricultural entrepreneurs, e.g., input supplier, processors, etc., with backward and forward linkages among the local people, including the returned migrants. There is also scope to produce �Green Commandos� with necessary level of skilling along the value chain from food production to consumption besides scope to strengthen the infrastructure for food and agro-processing industry from post-harvest handling to marketing,� it said.
It also suggested developing market intelligence-based production planning for complementary and supplementary agriculture within and outside the State and to march towards food sovereignty with the idea of �our land-our culture; our food � our identity� in the line of �local and vocal� campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.