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Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor

Manipur State government will be buying paddy from the farmers. This announcement from Agri Minister Thongam Biswajit is boosting paddy farmers of the State. Th Biswajit has announced that the State has earmarked Rs 80 crore to buy back the unsold paddy from the farmers of Manipur.

However, there is propaganda among the farmers that the State buying paddy at the rate of Rs 25 per kg will discourage the farmers to cultivate paddy in the future. To clear this misconception, the officials from the Agriculture Department must conduct awareness programmes among the farmers of the State. The farmers must be informed and guided that paddy cultivation is the best income-generating farming.

Normally, a farmer spends around Rs 12,000 – 14,000 per Sangam to cultivate paddy. The minimum harvest is around 20-25 bags. If they are able to sell their harvest at the price offered by the govt at Rs 25 per Kg, they will get around Rs 20,000 – 25,000, which gives them a profit of Rs 8,000 – 11,000.

The profit margin is almost 65-75% of the capital invested, that too within 4-5 months. When our Return of Investment (RoI) is 15-19% per month, why is the propaganda that paddy cultivation is at risk nowadays?

There are some farmers who are getting 30-35 bags of paddy per Sangam, which means they are reaping the bumper harvest and gaining profits of Rs 20,000- 25,000 in a season.

Contrary to these, there are also some farmers who spent Rs 18,000 – 20,000 on cultivating one Sangam of paddy. These farmers have been draining Urea fertilizers, more insecticides, weedicides, and even fungicides to prevent diseases. They have spent more on these preventive farm inputs due to the adoption of excessive Urea fertilizers and chemicals in their fields which are easy prey for insects and diseases.

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Paddy fields failed to impress the farmers due to the drought-like situation in Manipur.

Besides, there are also farmers whose fields have been damaged due to a drought-like situation for the last 3-5 years. Drought is not in the hands of the government. It is a global climatic challenge faced by several countries. What we expect from the Th Biswajit is to bring out a solution to solve this challenge. There are several drought-resistant varieties of paddy which are invented in other states. Even our indigenous local paddy, Chakhao Angouba, and Chakhao Poreiton are considered drough-resistant varieties of paddy.

Government must encourage farmers to grow such Chakhao for higher profit margins. One kg of Chakhao paddy is sold in the market at Rs 50 which is a profitable business. One Sangam of Chakhao gives normally 18-22 bags of paddy. A Chakhao farmer can easily earn Rs 15,000 – 20,000 per one Sangam.

Earlier, Biswajit won half of the battle by controlling the black marketing and hoarding of Urea fertilizers. Except for a few vested interest groups, farmers have been able to get the Urea through their concerned MLA. And we trust that the issue of farmers being unable to sell their paddy will be solved soon.

Post-Covid pandemic, one bag of paddy (40 kg) cost Rs 800- 1000 for the best quality phou like Drum. When the free rice distribution started during the pandemic and thereafter, farmers are unable to sell paddy. The same Drum phou has plummeted to Rs 600 and yet, no buyers since the free rice scheme is still distributed in the State. Even the ration rice which was sold normally at Rs 1200-1500 in the market is now available at Rs 750-800.

The proposal of the Agri Minister to buy back the paddy from our farmers is a good step towards promoting the doubling income of our farmers. When the govt is buying paddy, farmers will be encouraged to grow more paddy. To increase yields, farmers must use modern technological inputs and high-quality seeds.

The expenditure on farming will greatly decrease and the yield will increase once we adopt natural organic farming. As per the agriculture expert, a farmer has to spend barely Rs 8000-9000 per sangam. The State has a roadmap to announce Manipur as an organic state soon. Our farmers will spend less on urea fertilizers and other insecticides and fungicides.

Even if the government is unable to buy back the paddy from farmers, there is a golden opportunity for paddy farmers in the State. The Manipur State cabinet has allowed the sale and brewing of liquor in some specific areas including district headquarters, tourist spots, security camps, and hotels having at least 20 bedded lodging facilities. Once brewing is permitted, paddy farmers will find buyers of their paddy soon.

Agri Minister Biswajit was boosting paddy farmers when he announced that “double the income of farmers will be my prior target as Minister in charge of Agriculture.” We expect more farmers-oriented policies to encourage our farmers in the coming years!

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