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COVID-19, farmers & milk producers

COVID-19, farmers & milk producers

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 April 2020 6:21 AM GMT

On Friday morning former Union minister Suresh Prabhu posted a very important tweet. He said that several thousands of tonnes of cashew crops need to be marketed immediately, failing which hundreds of farmers in Konkan will face a disaster. Within less than on hour of this, Prabhu’s tweet saw more than 300 likes and over 70 retweets, while several others who joined the discussion pointed out that it was indeed the duty of the government to come to the rescue of the cashew farmers of the Konkan belt. But then, cashew is only one commodity that is stuck due to the lockdown. Fortunately, cashew is not a perishable commodity. Across Assam, as also across other states of the country, thousands of farmers who grow vegetables are currently in great distress because of the lockdown. Vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, tomato etc – are highly perishable. With hardly any cold-storage facility available in the state, farmers across Assam are heading towards a doom. There have been reports that tonnes of vegetable are being dumped by the farmers in the districts in the past few days, which is not at all a good indicator of what is in store for the state’s rural community in the weeks to come. Likewise, hundreds of milk producers across Assam are facing an even worse situation because milk cannot be stored just like that even for more than 24 hours. Moreover, while farmers can at least water their vegetable crops to keep them well for five to six days, cattle-rearers cannot keep their animals starving even for half a day. There have been numerous pleas from the milk producers to the state government to come to their aid. Two simple support that these milk producers have sought are – (a) arrange regular supply of cattle feed, and (b) arrange to distribute milk to the nearby urban centres including Guwahati and the district towns. Milk being an essential item, the government can definitely extend a helping hand and prevent the wastage of thousands of litres of milk. Similarly, the government can easily organize collection of vegetables from the growers and also sale of the same in a door-to-door system. One dos not need to learn any rocket science to do this. The Agriculture and Veterinary Minister himself comes from a farm background, and he is the best person to make that vital step forward. The local MLAs can also play a role in this process. This will go a long way in keeping so many hearths burning in the current crisis situation.

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