From our Correspondent
ITANAGAR, June 19: Arunachal Pradesh on Monday launched the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), a flagship programme of the UPA government, to ensure food security for all.
With the launching of the project by Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandary and Dairy Development Minister Setong Sena, Arunachal has become the second Northeastern state to do so after Assam to launch the project.
Addressing agriculture officers from all over the state at Krishi Bhawan here, Sena said the answer to the lack of growth of Arunachal’s high potential agriculture sector lay in the problems confronting the sector, the huge opportunities available and the vast experience of the officers.
Sena regretted that while the advanced nations have been switching over from conventional to organic cultivation, the new generations of Arunachal Pradesh have been distracted from agriculture under the impact of modernity, official sources said here today.
“We have devalued ourselves and the offices by turning them into order and contract supply offices instead of helping the young ones to realize the value of agriculture in this agrarian society which has a cultural link with agriculture,” he said.
Sena expressed concern that the officers despite having a sea of knowledge were lacking in personal endeavours for which the department has remained on paper with high ideals as an incentive provider.
This has to be replaced by commitment to serve the masses by tapping the vast potential and spending the funds judiciously, he said exhorting the officers to ensure achievements at the ground level. He also cautioned them that he would make surprise visits to personally monitor the implementation of schemes and programmes.
Sikkim has created plenty of opportunities with very little available land for its minuscule population, making the state surplus in milk, dairy and poultry produces, while Arunachal is gasping for breath even with huge area and manpower, Sena said, referring to his recent visit to that state.
However, the success story of Sikkim cannot be replicated in Arunachal Pradesh as need-based concept alone would be the panacea for the state, he pointed out.
With the Centre as well as Chief Minister Nabam Tuki attaching top priority to the agri-horti sector, which has been strengthened by assurance of support from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar during his recent meeting with him, Sena said the time is opportune for a turnaround and expressed hope that the NSFM would be a turning point for a better future.
The programme coincided with the inauguration of a three-day review meeting-cum-orientation workshop on NFSM.
The 4.3 per cent agri growth during the 10th Five year Plan (FYP) against the 9th FYP’s 2.4 per cent growth is an achievement, said Agriculture Parliamentary Secretary Likha Saaya, who called upon the officers to change their attitude, saying “everything is possible with commitment and determination.”
Practical approach with an ‘I-can-do-it’ resolve and team spirit would help people embrace success, Saaya said. If Israel, which is basically a desert nation, could do wonders in agriculture why cannot Arunachal with suitable agro-climatic condition? he asked.
Expressing concern at the lack of work culture – which is a necessary factor for speedy economic development - agriculture commissioner Hage Kojin emphasized on work culture to take the state to its desired destination.
Encouraging innovation and agri-research, he informed that the agri & horti minister has proposed that the Centre set up central institutions for the purpose. He called for utilizing the services of Krishi Vigyan Kendras as they have scientists in specialized fields.
Stressing on constant monitoring to keep track of achievements, as well as updating with latest development, he called for an organized data collection mechanism, also covering the private sector which has been exporting produces to Bangladesh and Assam. A correct databank alone could help seek central support, he reasoned.
The draft of Green Arunachal Mission is being prepared for initiating action to achieve the NFSM, Kojin added.
Later, agriculture director A K Purkayastha, through a Power Point presentation, highlighted the objective of NFSM, saying the state is aiming at a 6.5 per cent target growth during 12th FYP.
He said that even if such a high target is achieved, the state would be left with a 21 per cent deficit. The total rice production during 11th FYP was 2.55 lakh MT against a requirement of 3.98 lakh MT (deficit 35 per cent), while during the 12th FYP the production is expected to be 3.55 lakh MT against a requirement of 4.49 lakh MT which will leave the state with a deficit of 21 per cent. Achieving the target is a compulsion not a choice, he said with conviction.