Advisory for farmers during lockdown period due to COVID-19
DR. M. PREMJIT SINGH
Agricultural and allied activities are exempted from lockdown as per Government of India Guidelines. These exemptions will facilitate unhindered activities related to agriculture and farming so as to ensure essential supplies and farmers do not face any difficulty during the lockdown. Amidst the threat of COVID-19 spread, the rabi crops are approaching maturity. Harvesting and handling of the produce including its movement to the market are inevitable as the agricultural operations are time bound. However, farmers are to follow precautions and safety measures to be taken to prevent the disease spread. Simple measures include social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene by washing of hands with soap, wearing of face mask, protective clothing and cleaning of implements and machinery. Workers are to follow safety measures and social distancing at each and every step in the entire process of field operations.
Recently, Central Agricultural University, Imphal has developed 17 Advisories/ Protocols to mitigate the challenges during Lockdown period due to COVID-19 like (i) Paneer preparation from the surplus milk production at home (ii) Preparation of tomato puree, ketchup and sauce at home (iii) Preparation of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut cabbage) at home (iv) Extension of shelf life of fruits, vegetables and other farm produce in Low Cost Zero Energy Cool Chamber at home (v) Preparation of cucumber pickle in vinegar at home (vi) Preparation of Lime/ Lemon pickle in salt (vii) Nursery bed preparation for the kharif crops (viii) Homemade Neem Seed Kernel Extract for pest control (ix) Advisory for Dairy farmers (x) Advisory for poultry farmers (xi) Advisory for pig farmers (xii) Advisory for fish and pond health management (xiii) Advisory for table fish growers/ producers (xiv) Advisory for fish seed producer engaged in nursery and rearing enterprise (xv) Advisory for preparation of homemade mask (xvi) Advisory for antibacterial handmade mask etc. These advisories are available in the University website www.cau.ac.in for dissemination to the farmers of the region through the KVK network.
With the onset of monsoon, now the farmers in the state should initiate effective planning for rice cultivation and other kharif crops. There are 3(three) mantras for profitable rice cultivation i.e., (i) Quality seeds of high yielding rice variety, (ii) Farm Mechanization, and (iii) Good agronomic practice like Integrated Crop Management (ICM) / System of Rice Intensification (SRI). In order to help the rice farmers in the state, the University is planning to contribute technical knowhow and services of scientists and students as COVID warriors with high yielding University rice variety, CAU R-1 (Tamphaphou). The University will also launch participatory Rice Seed Production programme in the farmers' field under the supervision of highly qualified scientists of the University. As a little contribution from the Academic Institution, the University has initiated many efforts to fight the corona virus pandemic and produced about 70,600 kg of certified seeds of rice, 1,023 kg of Breeder seeds of rice, 2,109 kg of TFL seeds of soybean, 1,000 kg of TFL seeds of groundnut, 420 kg of TFL seeds of black gram, 200 kg TFL seeds of Green gram for kharif season and 8,000 kg of TFL seeds of Rapeseed/Mustard for rabi season for scientific cultivation in the farmers' field under University Farmers Centric programmes. Earlier University also planted more than 1 lakh fruit plants and developed 5 Model Fruit villages in the state. Another 5 Model Fruit villages will also be developed within three months to fight malnutrition and Anaemia in the rural areas.
(The writer is Vice-Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal) .