Imphal: The Manipur government today launched a new innovative scheme christened as “Cultivation of Horticulture Crops as an Alternative to Poppy Cultivation in Hill Areas.” The new scheme was launched under “War on Drug 2.0.”
Speaking on the occasion, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh launched the brand “Manifresh.” The launching programme was organised by the Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation at its Office Complex at Sanjenthong in imphal.
Biren Singh then maintained that the government was committed to its War on Drugs campaign and there would be no question of moving back in its effort to root out drug menace from the state. Continuing that his government has no enmity with anyone or any community, he added that the campaign was started with the aim to conserve forest areas, to uproot poppy cultivation, drugs trafficking and its consumption ensuring a better future for the younger generations.
“Manifresh” is a combination of words derived from the words ‘Manipur’ and ‘fresh horticulture’ products. The produces include both fresh and processed horticulture products. The logo and brand had been launched to bring the entrepreneurs under a common platform and banner through brand building initiative.
The Chief Minister then informed that 355 farmers from Kangpokpi, Kamjong and Ukhrul districts who earlier depended on poppy cultivation for their livelihood had been benefitted with alternative arrangements under the very War on Drugs campaign. He stressed the need of the concerned officials to visit various villages and meet the farmers, making them aware of the ill effects of poppy cultivation and about the initiatives of the government towards providing alternative arrangements for earning their livelihood. He also expressed his desire that concerned officials should conduct camps at different places to timely provide saplings and seeds for suitable alternative cropping.
Terming the people’s unwavering support to the War on Drugs campaign as a historic movement against drugs, he assured the farmers not to worry about marketing platform for their produce as the government has provisioned for buyback of their produce and added that cold storage facilities had also been set up in many places. Mentioning the TRIFED initiative which is committed to transform the lives of tribals in India, he informed that more than 400 Self Help Groups had been formed in the State employing around 50,000 tribal women mainly on fruit processing. Outlets for selling the products had been opened at many places outside the State, he added.
Biren then recalled the early initiatives taken by Peh village by uprooting the poppy plantation in their areas for which the government had rewarded the villagers with Rs 10 lakh. He added that around 130 villagers of Peh had benefited under phase-III of “Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region” (MOVCDNER). He expressed satisfaction on the people’s support to the initiatives taken up by the government and assured that the government would provide all requirements for alternative cropping.
It may be mentioned that to combat drug menace which had become a social problem, the state government had taken a multi-pronged approach through inter departmental efforts to provide alternative livelihood to poppy cultivators with a sustainable integrated farming system. An amount of Rs. 400 lakhs is earmarked for the year 2022-23 for implementing the alternative livelihood to poppy cultivators. An Annual Action Plan with different components is also prepared for implementation with a target of 500 farmers covering about 500 acres in the districts of Chandel, Kamjong, Kangpokpi, Ukhrul and Tengnoupal districts.