Manipur: Alternative farming system for tribal jhumias and poppy planters launches

Imphal: On Thursday, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh launched the Alternative Farming System for Tribal Jhumias/Poppy Planters in the Churachandpur, Pherzawl, Noney, Tamenglong, Senapati, Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal, and Chandel districts of Manipur.

He also distributed Rabi crops seeds, nursery items, and tools and equipment to 17 registered farmers’ societies from Senapati, Kangpokpi, Churachandpur, Kamjong, Ukhrul, Chandel, Tengnoupal, Tamenglong, and Noney.

The programme was organized by the Eastern Border Areas Development Authority (EBADA), Government of Manipur, under the funding of the North Eastern Council (NEC), Shilong.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Singh raised concerns about the impact of global warming, stating that the state’s weather pattern has changed. He cited large-scale deforestation and the establishment of big industries as the reasons for the change in climate and the emergence of new diseases. He continued by saying that humans have become selfish, thinking only for themselves and showing no concern for future generations.

Mentioning the theme of India’s G20 Presidency ‘One Earth One Family One Future’, he stated that India has taken various measures to conserve nature and the environment. It is time for us to think of our future generations, he added.

CM Singh continued by saying that the items that were distributed today might have less monetary value, but they have much value considering their importance. He spoke on the importance of carrying out terrace cultivation instead of Jhum cultivation with technical support. He also informed that the state government has started providing alternative crops for poppy planters and is aiming to achieve a ‘Green Manipur’.

He expressed happiness to see that many societies had come up with an Alternative Farming System in hill areas adding that it is the beginning of the development of horticulture products and enhancing the livelihood of the people of hill areas.

He appealed to the Farmers Society to carry out the plantation of crops systematically in order to get better yields and contribute to the development of the economy. He assured that the state government would provide the necessary support to society.

Stating the importance of preserving Loktak Lake, CM Singh informed that a team from the Asian Development Bank is in the state and they are doing research on how to preserve the lake. He further cautioned that some NGOs operating under foreign funding are trying to disrupt the development works taking place in the state and added that the government would not spare them.

Horticulture and Soil Conservation minister Letpao Haokip stated that the state has witnessed less production in hill areas, and as such, the chief minister has taken various initiatives to promote horticulture products in these areas. “The state has been dependent on other states for various household products. Proper plantation in the hill region can substitute our imports for necessary household products,” he added.

He stressed the need to grow high-value products and added that this could help in enhancing the earnings of the people. He informed that training would be given in a phased manner for the cultivation of high-value products. He appealed to the farmers’ society to use the distributed products suitably and work sincerely to make the state self-reliant.

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Transport minister Khashim Vashum, MLAs Ram Muivah and Chinlunthang, Chief Secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary P Vaiphei, Deputy Commissioners, and representatives of the Farmers’ Producers Society also attended the programme.

The items distributed to the farmers’ society were: a grass cutter, 10 spades, two shovels, two pick-axes, five rakes, five bundles of cocopeat, 50 plug trays, five plastic crates, one packet of coriander, three packets of peas, one packet of beans, one packet of long beans, one packet of chia seeds, and one packet of wax gourd.

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