Imphal: Farmers in Manipur, after a meeting, “unanimously” resolved or declared that a holistic agricultural policy for the State of Manipur should be formulated through an inclusive process.
According to a joint press release by Loumi Sinmi Apun Lup (LOUSAL), Human Right Alert (HRA) and Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), the famers hailing from all the districts of Manipur, having gathered at the conference hall of Diocesan Social Service Society, Mantripukhri in Imphal on Saturday, having deliberated on the issues and challenges faced by the farmers of Manipur with inputs from local and outside experts adopted several declarations or resolutions.
Another declaration or resolution was that, a strong farmers’ union for the whole of Manipur should be established to highlight the issues and concerns of the farmers. The meeting also said that the PDS suffered from various limitations in providing food security of the people as vested interest gains out of the system rather than the beneficiaries. “The government should buy the agricultural and horticultural products of the farmer by ensuring a Minimum Procurement Price and distribute it through the existing Targeted Public Distribution System,” it added.
One of the points of declaration said that the distribution of seed and bio fertilizer should be done equitably and transparently. The meeting also declared that the exiting river lift irrigation and Loktak lift irrigation system should be made fully functional and new initiatives should be taken up with a specially focus in the hill areas to harvest and retain rainwater.
The meeting then said that multiple and diverse cropping should be encouraged, mono-cropping and excessive use of pesticide and insecticide should be checked effectively. It further said that liberal credit facilities should be provided to small and marginalized farmers and there should be regulations to curve on exploitative money landing practices. “Concerted efforts should be made to assure stable market of the agricultural and horticu ltu ral products,” it further said. The meeting also said that training in modern form of agricultural practices, food processes and marketing should be expedited. The farmers’ meeting then resolved that learning from the negative impact of the Palm oil tree plantation, elsewhere, the famers of Manipur will resist this plan, tooth and nail.
“Recalling that until the recent past the farmers of Manipur sustained a food surplus economy and even exported rice produced in the fertile alluvial land fondly called the Sana Leibak,” the declaration note said, adding, “Having missed the green revolution that swept across various parts of lndia, the farmers of Manipur continue to suffer reel under the hegemonic structures of internal colonization which not only impoverished and stripped away the honour and dignity of the farmers, but also made Manipur a food dependent State”.
It then said that, encouraged by the unlimited potential that nature has endowed the region – with rich bio-diversity, fertile soil, abundant rainfall – on the one hand and the ground swell of hardworking, educated, innovative young work-force who are already skilled and equipped with the indigenous knowledge of the land both in the forested hills and the wetlands of the valley, “this august gathering makes a clarion call to restore the food self-sufficient status of Manipur and the dignity of the farmers”.