The programme will ensure timely availability of adequate and quality inputs to farmers, help them access credit, improve marketing infrastructure, extension services and better transportation

Agartala: In a move to double the income of farmers by 2022, Tripura government on Thursday announced its decision to convert 50,000 hectares of paddy fields to maize and mashkolai or masam pulse.

Agriculture minister Paranjit Singha Roy said that the decision to convert the paddy field to maize and masam pulse is an effort to ensure higher income for farmers of the state. The state government also wants to ensure that there is no deficit in the production of food grains.

Currently, farmers earn around Rs 20,000 per hectare from paddy cultivation. Once converted into maize, they would make around Rs 54,000 and Rs 34,000 from masam pulse.

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The state government has decided to convert 50,000-hectare paddy land to maize and masam pulse within three years in a bid to ensure they have a better income source. Maize would be cultivated in 28 thousand hectors of land, while masam pulse will be cultivated in 22 hectors of land”, Singha Roy said.

Explaining about the benefits of maize cultivation, Singha Roy said that it was observed that on spending one rupee in paddy a farmer earns Rs 1.45 paisa. In comparison, on investing one rupee on maize Rs 2.19 paisa can be made by the farmers.

“Around 95 per cent farmers are from the marginal category and own less than 3 kani or 1.19-acre agricultural land. In 95 per cent of these lands, paddy is the primary crop to be grown. These crops are profitable up to three times compared to paddy”, Singha Roy added.

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The state government will provide financial assistance of Rs 6,000 for each hectare of land. This will benefit around 60 thousand farmers across the state.

“Corn or baby corn has a huge demand. Many items are prepared and served in restaurants. The animal resources department has a demand for the corn and it is being purchased at Rs 20 rate from another state. Once the state starts producing maize, the amount spent in procuring the produce would remain within the state”, Singha Roy said.

Meanwhile, the director of agriculture, DP Sarkar said that the policies change from time to time for the benefit of the farmers and people of the state.

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“Earlier it was the green revolution, then came white revolution and now it is the income revolution. The amount invested in the paddy is enough to procure paddy from outside,” Sarkar said.

He also said that maize has an extra benefit as it can be used as food, fuel, fodder and feed. In the North East only Assam cultivates maize and if Tripura starts producing it, then the rest of the states would start procuring from the state.

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