Imphal: Farmers from Manipur have demanded the state government for the formation of a holistic agricultural police and “restore the dignity of the farmers” while making the state a food self-sufficient state.
In a joint call by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Human Rights Alert (HRA) and Loumi Sinmi Apun Lup (LOUSAL) during a meet at the Conference Hall of Diocesan Social Service Society (DSSS) at Mantripukhri, the groups stated that until the recent past the farmers of Manipur sustained a food surplus economy and even exported rice produced in the fertile alluvial land fondly called Sana Leibak.
Farmers have alleged that having missed the Green Revolution that swept across various parts of lndia, the farmers of Manipur continue to suffer “under the hegemonic structures of internal-colonisation” which not only impoverished and stripped away the honour and dignity of the farmers, but also made Manipur a food-dependent state.
While deliberating on the issues and challenges faced by the farmers of Manipur with inputs from local and outside experts, the meeting also resolved to established a strong farmers’ union for the whole of Manipur to highlight the issues and concerns of the farmers.
Observing that the PDS suffered from various limitations in providing food security of the people as vested interest gains out of the system rather than the beneficiaries, the meeting further resolved that the state government should buy the agricultural and horticultural products of the farmer by ensuring a Minimum Procurement Price and distribute it through the existing Targeted Public Distribution System.
Distribution of seed and bio fertilizer should be done equitably and transparently, it stated.
It also demanded that the exiting river lift-irrigation and Loktak lift-irrigation system should be made fully functional and new initiatives should be taken up with a specially focus in the hill areas to harvest and retain rainwater. Moreover, multiple and diverse cropping should be encouraged, mono-cropping and excessive use of pesticide and insecticide should be checked effectively, it said.
In order to curve on exploitative money landing practices in the state, a proper regulations need to come up and liberal credit facilities should be provided to small and marginalized farmers, the meeting unanimously resolved.
It further demanded that concerted efforts should be made to assure stable market of the agricultural and horticultural products while ensuring training in modern form of agricultural practices, food processes and marketing be expedite.
Having to learn the negative impact of the Palm oil tree plantation elsewhere, the farmers also resolved to resist the plan and fight tooth and nail.
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