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Indigenous farmers script success story

By Shambhu Boro

TEZPUR, June 25 � At a time when there is growing reluctance to practice agriculture due to various reasons, including the indifferent attitude of the department concerned, a group of local farmers of Saraka Baligaon area under Bandarmari Gaon Panchayat and Bihaguri development block, located some 20 km from here, have scripted a success story proving that farming can definitely ensure security of livelihood.

More importantly, the silted land on the banks of the Gabharu river at Saraka Baligaon area covering an area of more than 100 hectares, under Barchala LAC in Sonitpur district has found friends in Purna Kanta Basumatary, Budhiram Boro (Sunit), Dhonai Nath, and many others who practice organic farming.

It may be mentioned that the farming land of the area which was once naturally fertile, became unproductive following siltation by the Gabharu river. However, despite all odds, farmers of the area started cultivation of different kinds of crops turning the silted barren lands into verdant fields. Paddy cultivation apart, farming of horticultural crops, mustard, cattle rearing and presently sugarcane cultivation on a large scale is being practised in the organically managed lands of the area. Presently, about 50 hectares of land in this area is teeming with a rich growth of sugarcane and arum since the last many years.

Here in this area, each of the farmers has a holding of 10 to 15 bighas of the silted river land on an average. �For the last many years, sugarcane has been cultivated in the area with other cash crops like arum and potato with a view to meet the financial needs of the families. We manage to meet the much- needed expenditure for the studies of our children through cultivation only. Giving recognition to the back-breaking labour of the farmers like us, Susmita Basumatary who is my brother�s daughter got the eighth position in the recently declared HSLC examination bringing glory to the area,� said an emotionally surcharged Purna Kanta Basumatary. He added that the sugarcane produced in this area has a high demand in this season. Apart from being supplied to other parts of the district, the farmers meet the need of the local sugarcane juice sellers in and around Tezpur town.

Another farmer, Dhonai Nath interacting with this reporter stated that the farmers earn a good income every year by selling �molasses� during the winter season when the sugarcane matures. �Economically important crops like sugarcane and arum have brought us good returns till date,� said Dhonai adding that returns last year by sale of their organically produced output had touched Rs one lakh.

However, it is regrettable that even though there is a huge Agricultural department, no departmental official has come forward to give any kind of assistance to these farmers. Expressing total annoyance over the negligence of the Agricultural department, an elderly farmer of the area, Baluram Boro said, �Our keen desire of utilising these plots fully by cultivating different crops like sugarcane, paddy, arum, pumpkin, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, tomato, potato, chilly etc., receives a setback when our pleas to the authorities concerned like Bihaguri Development block and the agricultural officers sitting in the same office for help including providing a pumping machine or seeds of different crops is turned down. Since the time of plantation of the saplings of sugarcane till its harvest and preparation of the molasses, the labour and the expenditure involved is unbelievable, if one does not see it with his own eyes,� he maintained. �Shuttling from home to the financial institutions, being a sheer waste of valuable time, we no longer feel disposed to make such plans,� the farmers added.

At the same time, referring to the advantage of organic farming, an agricultural officer of the district, Suramoni Dhakal said that such farming helps sustain the soil health and if practised commercially, the output fetches very good returns.

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Indigenous farmers script success story

TEZPUR, June 25 � At a time when there is growing reluctance to practice agriculture due to various reasons, including the indifferent attitude of the department concerned, a group of local farmers of Saraka Baligaon area under Bandarmari Gaon Panchayat and Bihaguri development block, located some 20 km from here, have scripted a success story proving that farming can definitely ensure security of livelihood.

More importantly, the silted land on the banks of the Gabharu river at Saraka Baligaon area covering an area of more than 100 hectares, under Barchala LAC in Sonitpur district has found friends in Purna Kanta Basumatary, Budhiram Boro (Sunit), Dhonai Nath, and many others who practice organic farming.

It may be mentioned that the farming land of the area which was once naturally fertile, became unproductive following siltation by the Gabharu river. However, despite all odds, farmers of the area started cultivation of different kinds of crops turning the silted barren lands into verdant fields. Paddy cultivation apart, farming of horticultural crops, mustard, cattle rearing and presently sugarcane cultivation on a large scale is being practised in the organically managed lands of the area. Presently, about 50 hectares of land in this area is teeming with a rich growth of sugarcane and arum since the last many years.

Here in this area, each of the farmers has a holding of 10 to 15 bighas of the silted river land on an average. �For the last many years, sugarcane has been cultivated in the area with other cash crops like arum and potato with a view to meet the financial needs of the families. We manage to meet the much- needed expenditure for the studies of our children through cultivation only. Giving recognition to the back-breaking labour of the farmers like us, Susmita Basumatary who is my brother�s daughter got the eighth position in the recently declared HSLC examination bringing glory to the area,� said an emotionally surcharged Purna Kanta Basumatary. He added that the sugarcane produced in this area has a high demand in this season. Apart from being supplied to other parts of the district, the farmers meet the need of the local sugarcane juice sellers in and around Tezpur town.

Another farmer, Dhonai Nath interacting with this reporter stated that the farmers earn a good income every year by selling �molasses� during the winter season when the sugarcane matures. �Economically important crops like sugarcane and arum have brought us good returns till date,� said Dhonai adding that returns last year by sale of their organically produced output had touched Rs one lakh.

However, it is regrettable that even though there is a huge Agricultural department, no departmental official has come forward to give any kind of assistance to these farmers. Expressing total annoyance over the negligence of the Agricultural department, an elderly farmer of the area, Baluram Boro said, �Our keen desire of utilising these plots fully by cultivating different crops like sugarcane, paddy, arum, pumpkin, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, tomato, potato, chilly etc., receives a setback when our pleas to the authorities concerned like Bihaguri Development block and the agricultural officers sitting in the same office for help including providing a pumping machine or seeds of different crops is turned down. Since the time of plantation of the saplings of sugarcane till its harvest and preparation of the molasses, the labour and the expenditure involved is unbelievable, if one does not see it with his own eyes,� he maintained. �Shuttling from home to the financial institutions, being a sheer waste of valuable time, we no longer feel disposed to make such plans,� the farmers added.

At the same time, referring to the advantage of organic farming, an agricultural officer of the district, Suramoni Dhakal said that such farming helps sustain the soil health and if practised commercially, the output fetches very good returns.

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