Zeliang Officers Association Nagaland (ZOAN) has requested department of agriculture, Nagaland to suggest alternative cropping for drought affected paddy fields in the district. The Association has urged the department to deploy scientists, recommend and arrange supply of raw materials for alternative cropping and declaration of Peren district as ‘drought affected’.
According to an official bulletin, president, ZOAN, K. Haralu and General Secretary, Dr. Ilang Friday in a letter addressed to director, agriculture stated that drought situation in the district had already left 90% of the farmers ‘high and dry’ for want of water as the farmers were depending solely on rain fed streams and rivers.
It also stated that most of the rivers were running dry compared to other years this time of the season creating a fear psychosis, as famine was imminent to entire farming community in the district. The total area under paddy cultivation in the district is 12,866 hectares with a production reaching to 24,485 metric tonnes in 2007-08 as per data of Agriculture Department in Peren district.
The Association noted that the production this year will hardly reach up to 10% of the preceding year, which will lead to famine for the entire populace. It has urged the Agriculture department to depute scientist/technocrats for a detailed on the spot study and recommend the best alternative crop to be cultivated in the terrace fields, besides arrangement and supply of raw materials in the form of seeds and saplings to be distributed at subsidized rate.
The ZOAN has urged the department to make an official declaration that Peren district ‘is drought affected’ and also urged the department to execute their request on a war footing so as to combat the natural disaster.