By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 11 : The Covid second wave and poor rainfall is disrupting agricultural practices in the State, with many fields still unprepared for cultivation.
In the past, farmers sow rice seeds/transplant from the nursery at this time of the year, i.e. June, and the plants grow up to below knee level by July.
However, this year many of the paddy fields are still empty at this ideal time for sowing owing to the Covid pandemic and poor monsoon.
This reporter, during a field survey, witnessed a majority of paddy fields in valley areas empty other than a handful of farmers planting vegetables at Sawombung and Keibi in Imphal East.
Speaking to this reporter, one Moirangthem Devaratan from Keibi stated that agriculture at Sawombung and Keibi rely heavily on monsoon due to the absence of irrigation facilities in the areas.
The farm output is good when the rice plants start flowering in July, he added.
Another farmer from Senjam Chaprou in Imphal West district, Namoijam Yaima maintained that many farmers from the areas are finding it difficult to start preparing for rice cultivation due to cash shortage.
Even if the farmers are willing to sell off their grains to meet the cost of hiring laborers for soil preparation, finding consumers is difficult, he added.
The situation is also similar in Kakching district.
One Naorem Ranjan from Kakching apprised that majority of fields in the district are in desolate conditions due to the unavailability of water for irrigation.
Mass detection of Covid positive people from the district and poor rainfall coupled with cash shortage is amplifying the woes of the farmers, he added.
On the other hand, a hike in the price of paddy seeds is another cause of concern for the farmers. It is said that the price of paddy seeds for planting are being sold as high as Rs 1400-Rs 1500 per sack in certain areas.
In this regard, secretary of Irabot Foundation Manipur Khunjamayum Gopen stated that the people of Manipur will suffer equally if the State Government and Agriculture Department take no notice of the problems being faced by the farmers on the ground of Covid pandemic.
Apart from making seeds and fertilizers available to the farmers affordably, the Government should also find out means to help the farmers if the monsoon is sparse before hand, he added.
He further urged the Government to make sure the benefits of SMAM and MIDH Schemes reach the farmers at these difficult times.