Thursday, October 6, 2022

Agriculture department holds meeting


A coordination meeting of agriculture department officers was held on Tuesday, in the conference hall of the directorate of Agriculture, Kohima.
Addressing the inaugural session, director of agriculture, M. Ben Yanthan said that the last few seasons had not been easy for the state’s farmers due to the pandemic, drought-like situation and pest and disease incidences, the worst being Fall Armyworm (FAW) in maize since May 2019.
He said that despite the pandemic, the department had been at the forefront in the development of agriculture in the state.
With added challenges of creating employment opportunities for post-COVID returnees and urban to rural migration, the department is continuously giving extra effort in effective implementation of various centrally & state sponsored schemes, Yanthan informed. He informed that the state government had declared drought of moderate nature w.e.f., September 15, 2021 which continued for 5/6 months.
Adding that the worst was not over as the Kharif season approaches, the director said that the state was experiencing unprecedented rain, hailstorms and extreme cold all over the state since January which would equally affect crop seasons and its agronomic practices.
He therefore said that Kharif preparedness had to be worked out seriously by all the stakeholders to mitigate any eventualities.
Yanthan said that while taking advantage of the recently established soil testing laboratories by the Soil & Water Conservation department and the Automatic Weather Forecasting Stations installed, the beneficial usages may be disseminated to the farmers under agriculture advisories to prepare them for various agricultural operations and control measures against pest & diseases anticipated.
He suggested that ATMA personnel be roped in to organise need-based pre-Kharif awareness campaigns at the block or farm school level with technical trainings on specific crops.
Ben Yanthan also said that today at national level, much emphasis was given on organic agriculture and that Nagaland had this advantage.
In this regard, he said that the wide gap needs to be bridged between FPOs/FPCS (organic farmers) and farm women, SHGs by encouraging post production and value chain market linkages through direct intervention of NSAMB Agri-Expo, Dimapur.
Stating that small efforts were done with king chili, ginger, turmeric, large cardamom, kiwi and pineapple products being exported, he also said that this should lead to bigger consignments and larger shipment orders
from both domestic and foreign buyers.
e-Agriculture through application of IT tools can be an added advantage, particularly the mobile apps to disseminate technologies/advisories to users and ICT application to find end to end solution for solving farmer’s problems, he stated.
Further, Yanthan said that one serious challenge the department was facing, was to make agriculture attractive to rural communities especially rural youths and educated unemployed to gradually halt rural to urban migrations as mechanization coupled with modern farming techniques including value addition with marketing linkages.
He said that this would “surely open up vistas of opportunity towards this challenge”.
At the inaugural session, preparedness for Kharif 2022 and various schemes on RKVY, NFSM, ATMA, PMKSY, etc, were discussed in the meeting.
During the second session, JDA, N. Jacob Yanthan presented PowerPoint on departmental activities, IPM and overview field application and field photos.
Meanwhile, seed testing certification and INM rainfed farming was presented by JDA, Dr. I Amenla, manures and fertilizers and natural and organic production aspect by Dr. James K Chawang DDA and organic section.
Earlier, the meeting was chaired by additional director of Agriculture, C. Peter Yanthan.