By : Imna Longchar
Dimapur (Nagaland), April 29 : Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC), Kikheto Sema, said that the state is facing a “drought like situation” in agricultural sectors with many reports coming in from various districts across the state.
He disclosed this while addressing “need base” meeting of all Agri & Allied departments of Nagaland at the Civil Secretariat Conference Hall, Kohima, to discuss the various difficulties and challenges being faced by the state.
An official bulletin quoting the APC stated that seeds have not germinated due to shortage of water and shortfall of rain and the few seeds that have germinated have failed to survive.
Kikheto also informed that reports of hailstorms and attack of crops by “fall armyworm” across the state had affected the crop production while livestock farming has also been hit by the African Swine Flu.
Stating that “extra ordinary times call for extra ordinary measures”, the APC called on the agri and allied departments to take stock of the situation and to take up the challenges faced by the people of the State.
“Immediate action should be taken in affected areas,” he reiterated.
Mentioning that 70% population of the State live in rural areas and are engaged in agriculture, he said that it was time the qualified officers of the Agri & Allied departments to put their heads together and give solutions to the farmers.
“Agriculture cannot be stopped, even if there is a pandemic and we need to be prepared for any
eventualities that may arise,” he added while calling for the four “Cs”: cooperation, coordination, confidence and contribution amongst the department to fight the issue that lies ahead.
He also appealed to the citizens of the State to maintain a kitchen garden in their own backyards.
Kikheto Sema also instructed the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments to assess the damage of seeds and to replace them on urgent need bases so that the farmers could use the season to replant and grow the crops.
He also suggested on purchasing of seeds from other allotted funds because of the urgency while suggesting the Veterinary Department to sensitize the people on alternate livestock farming such as goat farming and poultry.
“Fishery is also another alternative towards sustaining food production in the State,” he stated, and called on the Fishery Department to encourage people to practice rearing fishes.
He also urged the Sericulture department to create awareness on the importance of silk worm, its importance and how easy and cheap it is to rear them.
The APC, who is also the Nodal Officer for “Jal Shakti Abhiyan,” stressed on water conservation and rainwater harvesting.
He stated that Land Resource Department, Water Resources Department, PHED should work towards water conservation and water resource management. We should focusing on saving and conserving rainwater with the theme “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls” covering both urban and rural areas in the State.
He also called for creating awareness and importance of rainwater harvesting to Village Councils, Churches, NGOs and other organizations.
Kikheto also stressed on the need to plant trees across the State. He said that Nagaland is a resource constrained state and cannot contribute towards monetarily towards the Center, however Nagaland can increase the ecological surface and contribute towards creating a healthy ecological environment for the benefit of all.
He called on all Departments of the State Government to plant trees in spaces available within their complex and urged Schools, NGO’s, Churches to plant as many fruit trees as possible for the benefit of all.
Discussions, suggestions and action plans were addressed during the meeting.
Meanwhile, the directorate of agriculture, Kohima, Nagaland, has issued advisory in order to avoid the field level contagious spread of the Covid-19 during farming activities.
The farmers have been advised to adopt precautionary and safety measures which states that during manual field operations to maintain, 4-5 feet space or line assigning one strip to one farmer or labour as this will ensure adequate spacing between the engaged labours by maintaining social distancing.
All the farmers are to compulsorily use surgical mask or double layered scarf that adequately cover the nose and mouth and ensure hand washing with soap and water frequently.
To maintain safe distance of 3-4 feet during rests, taking meals and do not share meal with each other and also drink plenty of water during farm operations to avoid dehydration, plan in phase manner all the field activities where ever possible and avoid engaging more number of farmers on the same day in a given farm, engage only the healthy farmers or labours to the extent possible and after reasonable enquiry so as to avoid the entry of any likely carrier during field activity, all agricultural tools/implements or any other items used by one farmer should be sanitized and should not be exchanged. In any manner, to follow the standard safety guidelines during the visit to market for purchase of farm inputs or sale of products and avoid crowded areas, and if the farming operations require days to complete, please stay in your respective farms till the agriculture/agronomic practices are completed in order to save time and for the safety of you and your family members.