From a Correspondent
Tezpur, March 26: At a time when high-pesticide laced agricultural produce from across the State, including Lalpul, Sikunmati, Bechimari and Kharupetia areas of Darrang district, is flourishing in the vegetable market, thereby creating health concerns, the farmers of Puthimari Bapubheti and its adjoining areas have been able to create records with production of organic vegetables on the bank of the River Brahmaputra under the Bihaguri development block in Sonitpur district.
More importantly, despite idequate facilities for agriculture here, farmers who include educated youths of greater Puthimari Bapubheti area, have been able to set an example over the years by cultivating different kinds of rabi crops such as potato, tomato, brinjal, cabbage, mosur dal (lentil), pea, bean, garlic, onion, broccoli, pumpkin and mustard seed in hectares of land on the bank of the River Brahmaputra. The area falls in the southern part of NH-52 and covers an area of more than 20 km of lush green fields on the bank of the river. The Puthimari area has gained popularity in the field of organic production of rabi crops in the State. The rural educated youths in this area under Bihaguri development block in Sonitpur district, including many successful farmers like Chandan Kumar Timsi, Kamal Ghimire, Jugal th, Hem Gautom, Kartik th, Dev Bhandari and many others in a cluster, have been cultivating rabi crops in the area.
Choosing agriculture as the only way of economic security and livelihood, Chandan Kumar Timsi, who is also a secretary of Sonitpur district Nepali Xahitya Xabha unit of Puthimari branch, was felicitated by the Sonitpur district administration for his outstanding contribution and for earning tremendous success in the field of organic cultivation and vermicompost on the occasion of the 67th Republic Day. While interacting with this correspondent, he said that through organic cultivation of various rabi crops, social and economic changes had been brought about in the area and extensive production had resulted in sufficient supply of organic vegetables in the district. Moreover, Chandan Kumar Timsi has also taken up a venture to produce vermicompost. Further sharing his experience, he said, “Apart from cultivation, I started producing vermicompost in 2008 and for this project I received some fincial assistance from the Sonitpur Soil Conservation Division, Tezpur. At present there are 10 vermicompost centres which are running in the village under my supervision and various meetings were attended by me in several districts including Sonitpur as a trainer for imparting the methods of applying vermicompost.”
Chandan now produces about 70 to 80 quintals of vermicompost every month and out of this, 40 to 50 quintals are supplied to tea gardens and 30 to 40 quintals in the villages. At the same time, referring to the advantage of organic farming, Divisiol Soil Conservation Officer of Sonitpur district, Ramendra th Das said that such farming helped to sustain the soil health and if practiced commercially, the output fetched very good returns. “Our department is looking forward to assist in a large scale to bring positive outcome in the field of cultivation and vermicompost,” he added.
Farming by these educated youths on a large scale has not only raised the economic status of the area to a satisfactory level but also played a major role in protecting the land from the alleged aggression by illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators since last few years. On the other hand, apart from providing scope for cultivation, the chapori area has been playing a crucial role in boosting the economic condition of many unemployed people through open dairy farming system as the large area of grazing land provides the farm owners a turally conducive condition. Large quantities of milk, ghee and curd supplied from these dairy farms have been a remarkable help on various social occasions.
However, Kamal Ghimire, Jugal th, Hem Gautom, Kartik th and Dev Bhandari, among many other farmers who have been farming in the chapori area, expressed their grievances over the alleged negligence of the department concerned and the government as well towards them. They said that although many educated youths of the area had been engaged in seasol crop cultivation in the area, no adequate measures had been taken in this regard to encourage the farmers. Expressing serious concern over the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Agriculture department, the farmers further stated that they had been facing a tough situation following the wild elephant problem, lack of adequate water supply during the dry season and banking assistance.
“Moreover, the abundance of high-pesticide vegetables supplied from outside at a very low cost has adversely affected the farmers who have changed their marketing strategy resulting in low prices of the local products. Due to low prices, we farmers have failed to even recover our cost of production,” the farmers said adding that for resolving these serious issue of the local farmers, numerous representations were submitted to the authority concerned, including the Agricultural department during the recent past, but no positive result had come out of this.
“People who have government jobs, with political influence get KCC loan and the facility of tractors, thereby depriving the genuine beneficiaries,” the farmers lamented and pleaded the authority concerned to deal with the matter sincerely as it was affecting the overall development of the agro-based society of the area. The farmers who have been deprived of getting proper price for their produce also opined that another market was needed for the organic products.
Puthimari Bapubheti farmers set an example in organic farming
From a Correspondent