Goa News

Initiatives in agri sector slowly bearing fruit

Initiatives in agri sector slowly bearing fruit

13 Mar 2018 No comment 4 hits

350 words
Panaji: In his 2017 budget, chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had laid special focus on the agriculture sector. Rs 172 crore had been earmarked to target a 6 per cent growth rate in the sector.

Parrikar proposed a scheme to promote the commercial cultivation of mangoes. The directorate of agriculture notified the scheme in mid-2017. Titled ‘Development of mango orchards on commercial lines 2017’, granted government aid of up to Rs 2 lakh per hectare to those maintaining mango plantations of local varieties of the fruit for commercial sale.

To boost sugarcane cultivation, the assured price to farmers was supposed to be increased. “This has been implemented. Most of the farmers have paid the amount. The figures of the same will be with us by the end of this month,” agriculture director, Nelson Figueiredo said.

Emphasis was also to be laid on horticulture and floriculture. While no new polyhouses were given approvals this year, the horticulture corporation went on to launch several new outlets selling subsidized vegetables. “An additional 100 horticulture outlets have been opened across Goa, taking the total count to 940 outlets. Consequently, our business has also increased. The turnout for the 2016-17 financial year stood at almost Rs 19 crore,” said horticulture chairman, Madhav Kerkar.

An initiative to encourage farmers to undertake piggery through the ‘Varah Palan scheme’ was also to be taken up. Earlier this year, the ‘Varah Palan Scheme’ to provide financial assistance for the purchase and rearing of exotic and crossbred pigs and to augment pork production in the state was introduced by the department of animal husbandry and veterinary services.

The scheme states that an individual farmer can purchase piglets of maximum 20kg, and adult sows and boars of maximum 90kg. A subsidy is also available for infrastructure.

In January 2016, the earlier Laxmikant Parsekar led BJP government had amended the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act 1984 and dropped the tree status accorded to the coconut tree. Parsekar and his government came under severe criticism for this with the Goa Forward Party (GFP) starting a movement to reverse the decision and promising to restore the coconut tree its tree status and even name it as state tree if elected to power.

In December, the newly elected BJP-led government with GFP as their ally issued a notification declaring the coconut tree as state tree alongside the Matti (Terminalia elliptica). For over a quarter century, the Matti had enjoyed the status of state tree of Goa.

The agriculture department was also to take up initiatives in contract farming and cultivation of organic vegetables. “We are already working on this. The policies for either of these initiatives are under construction,” a senior agriculture official said.

In recent years, farmers have decried crop-loss due to certain animals causing damage, insisting that they be declared as ‘vermin’. Farmers have been asked to submit forms detailing the type of animal and the quantum of crop damage they have faced.

“We have submitted the report to the forest department. They will look at the survey and decide what to do. The decision of declaring animals as vermin does not come under our purview,” Figueiredo said.

Vijai Sardesai quote:

“Initiatives like community farming and contract farming can revive the state’s barren fields. We are working towards this. We have incentivized mechanized farming because agriculture in Goa is labour intensive. Also, 500 organic clusters have been allotted to the state under the PKVY scheme. This is just a start. We now want to have a floriculture hub in Goa. We are trying to create an orchid that is unique to Goa and will begin to work on the same. We will also begin a survey on the micro-climate studies of Goa in order to recommend to farmers what to grow where.”

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