MANGALDAI: The lockdown has affected the farmers of Assam. Already green vegetables, including tomato, capsicum, lady’s finger, and fruits like watermelon produced in Kharupetia, Barpeta and other places of the State have been damaged in the field due to non-availability of market. The strawberry cultivators too are frustrated as their produce have rotted in the field.
The alleged indifferent role of the agriculture department towards the woes of farmers of the State at this crucial juncture has highly been criticized by all conscious circles, including the farmers. According to the farmers, the Agriculture department has totally failed to make its presence felt among the farmers in this hour of crisis. Hiren Saharia, president of Seuji Asom, a non-government voluntary organization for the welfare of the farmers, has strongly criticized the agriculture department for its total failure to protect the interest of the farmers.
“The green chilli produced at Kharupetia, known as the hub of green vegetables, is being sold at Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kilogram but the green chilli in places of Upper Assam like Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat is fetching an unbelievable price of Rs. 200 per kilogram. Significantly, it is not the farmers but the middlemen who are enjoying the benefit at the cost of both the farmers and the buyers,” alleged Hiren Saharia while talking to The Sentinel on Sunday afternoon at the Sira Seuji Krishi Sambay founded in 1985 with a dedicated group of indigenous youths.
Hiren Saharia today visited the Krishi Samabay and interacted with the farmer members of the Samabay about the problems and sufferings being faced by them. “It is the responsibility of the agriculture department to ensure that the farmers of the State get the genuine price of their produce. But the middlemen are controlling the agriculture department and depriving the farmers from the due profit and the genuine rate,” he alleged.
Tilak Deka, originally from Kalaigaon area who founded the Sira Seuj Krishi Samabay in 1985, expressed concern about the future of the farmers. “Last year we sold maize at Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2200 per quintal. But this year we have no alternative but to sell it at Rs 1000 to Rs. 1200 per quintal. If such a situation prevails, will anyone come forward to take up agriculture as a means of livelihood?” said Tilak Deka in despair.