GUWAHATI, April 25 - Proving all the initiatives taken by the State Agriculture department ineffective in this season, vegetable growers of Assam have faced a loss of around Rs 34 crore. The loss occurred as the growing of vegetables doubled in this season in comparison to previous years.
Revealing the data here today, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora claimed that during the lockdown days, farmers of Assam have earned around Rs 475 crore by selling their farm produces.
This year, Assam also exported 18,000 MT of vegetables to different parts of the country. Bora said this time the State has exported a large amount of vegetables to New Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana along with a large amount of banana to West Bengal.
Amid the lockdown, the State Government also wrote to the Centre, seeking an additional Rs 150 crore under Remunerative Approach for Agriculture and Allied Sector Rejuvenation Scheme.
Moreover, around 27 lakh farmers in Assam will avail financial assistance under PM-Kishan Scheme soon, for which the department concerned has earmarked an amount of Rs 150 crore.
�We are trying to mitigate the loss of farmers by deploying several farmer vendors in every part of the State. These vendors are working to collect farm produces directly from farmers. To look after the matter, district-level monitoring committees have been formed in every district. Moreover, a high powered state-level monitoring committee is relentlessly looking after the activities of district-level committees,� Bora said.
The minister said the main duty of a district-level committee is to look after the marketing and supply of vegetables grown by the local farmers. To cover the loss of farmers, the State Agriculture department will also set up several cold storages across the State and for which the officials concerned will carry out a survey soon.
Moreover, the cold storages located at Goalpara and Chaygaon will become operational soon. The department is also planning to repair all defunct cold-storages in the State too.
�We are chalking out some short-term and long-term plans to ensure the availability of vegetables and other agri products in the coming days. As a short-term measure, we urged every person to start a kitchen garden in their homes. As a long-term measure, we are collecting the data about scope, surplus and production of vegetable products from every district,� Bora said.
For Sali cultivation, the minister also directed all the district administrations to help farmers in their respective districts. In this connection, the chief secretary has also issued an order. Very soon all enlisted beneficiaries of Assam will also avail tractors and power tillers from the government.
The minister said for the convenience of farmers, the direction has been made to every district to keep open all tractor repairing shops along with shops deal in seed, fertilizer and water pump.
In the coming days, the Agriculture department will also carry out an awareness drive about crop insurance among farmers of Assam. Additionally, 21 soil testing laboratories will become operational in the State soon.