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‘Agricultural challenges in pandemic have thrown up new opportunities’

Correspondent Shillong, Sep 20 | Publish Date: 9/20/2020 12:27:16 PM IST

The “agricultural challenges” in Covid-19 times have thrown up new opportunities too, primarily focusing on local production, which will lead to income generation,  saif acting director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), North Eastern Hill Region, Umiam, Meghalaya, Basant Kumar Kandpal 

“Agricultural challenges in times of COVID-19 has taught us three lessons.  You cannot import food from outside.  It should instead be grown locally. Food should be available locally. We must utilize our own resources optimally so that we can produce on our own as we cannot import from outside because of the ongoing pandemic,” Kandapal pointed out.  Stating that local production can provide employment to the local populace, the ICAR scientist said, “Agriculture should be a means where farmers get their livelihood through their local products”.

Also stressing on promotion of agricultural related activities, Kandpal pointed out, “Here we have no market for seeds, fertilizers, chemicals etcetera like we do in the mainland (UP, Bihar). But we don’t have such markets here because everything is being provided free to the farmers. How will markets develop when farmers rely and wait for the government,” he asks.

“Subsidies promote farmers at the end not intially...this is why farmers do not buy seeds but wait for the government to provide them,” he maintained.

 Kandapal said that the MGNGREA can be used in agriculture for development of land, construction of dams for water storage, develop ponds to raise fishes so that “we need not import from Andhra Pradesh”. “Umiam Lake can produce fishes but have not thought of this activity. All departments have to come together,” he underscored.

 “Lessons from COVID-19 will help revive economy and employment,” he iterated.

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