IMPHAL, Feb 19 � More than 250 leaders of farmers� bodies staged a sit-in demonstration under the aegis of All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association (AMPFA) here on Wednesday demanding enactment of a Manipur land use policy and agricultural produce market bill.
AMPFA also urged the State legislators to pass the bills in the next Assembly beginning on February 24.
Only about two lakh hectares of land are arable out of the State�s total area of 22,327 sq km and the annual output of food crops from this area is only four lakh metric tonnes against the requirement of six lakh metric tonnes to feed the State�s 27 lakh population, according to AMPFA president Joy Nongmaithem. �We need to protect our agricultural lands from being diverted to other use,� he said.
Last year, AMPFA had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh urging him to pass the Manipur agricultural produce market bill in the State Assembly.
On Tuesday, the farmers bodies � All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association, Loumi Sinmi Apunba Lup, Chingarel Loukon Kanba (Waiton Mamang) Kanba Lup and Protection of Agricultural Land and Natural Resources Organisation jointly appealed the government to enact a Manipur land use policy to save the shrinking agricultural land in the State.
The leaders of the farmers bodies addressed a press conference here at the Manipur Press Club and expressed grave concern over the disappearance of agricultural land in various parts of Manipur during the last few years. They attributed the situation to lack of land use policy, inadequate land records and subsequent diversion of agricultural land to other purposes.
The State produces only about 3,51,740 tonnes of rice against the requirement of 5,46,350 tonnes a year. As a result, the shortfall has to be imported from outside the State, they said.