Due to scant rainfall during early this year, Aaush and Jhum cultivation couldn't be done across 25 thousand hectares of cultivable land. Tripura is likely to face some 59,570 MT of food shortage this year, cautioned the state’s Agriculture Minister Pranajit Singha Roy.
However, he is hopeful that the gap in food grain will be compensated through Integrated Crop Management during the Aman season.
Singh Roy this evening, speaking to reporters, said, "According to preliminary estimates of the department, there is a possibility of a 59,570 MT food grain shortage as this year during March we had 52 percent less rainfall than the average while in April it was 64 percent less and so Aaush crops could be cultivated on only 11,161 hectares of land and jhum on 9,000 hectares."
The Minister added that his government had set targets to grow 10,000 MT of additional crop production from 20,000 hectares of land through Integrated Crop Management this year, along with cultivating 30,000 hectares of land in the Aaush cropping season in addition to 15,000 hectares of land under jhum.
He said, "The department hopes that through Integrated Crop Management in the current season, which is still on, we shall be able to bridge the gap of food grain shortage. However, the exact picture shall be clear only after the first assessment of crop estimates, which shall be ready by the month of October."
Singha Roy announced that since farmers face difficulties in the Aaush crop due to lack of rain, the government has decided to provide assistance of Rs. 3,918 per hectare to farmers in the next crop, or Amon crop, but for that, farmers have to sow young paddy plants in rows, deweed the fields twice, and use prescribed quantities of urea fertilizer.
As per department estimates, 1.48 lakh hectares of land is under cultivation in the state. Roughly 26 percent of the state's geographical area is under agriculture cover, including paddy, vegetables, and other agri products.
Singha Roy also claimed that since the BJP-led government came to power in Tripura in 2018, it has worked towards being self-sufficient in agriculture apart from doubling farmer income by the implementation of various schemes like providing benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, Kisan Credit Card and procuring paddy directly from farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Giving details regarding the increasing farmers' income, the Minister said, "While farmers had an average monthly income of Rs. 6,580 in 2015-16, it now stands at Rs. 11,096." We are now working to further augment it to Rs. 13,590 by 2022.
He also said that other than the compensation provided to farmers for scanty rainfall this year, the government had earlier sanctioned Rs. 7.40 crore as compensation for losses in winter due to rain in December 2021.
Singha Roy also claimed subsidies are being provided to farmers for buying agricultural equipments and which has grown by 41 percent since 2017-18 beside decreasing the production and labor cost by massive farm mechanisation and the government is soon introducing drone for farm management and surveillance.
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