Imphal: Farmers in Manipur have demanded the establishment of an agriculture policy and rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to start palm oil plantations.
On Saturday, farmers from across Maharashtra gathered at the Conference Hall of the Diocesan Social Service Society, Mantripukhri, to discuss their concerns and challenges.
The farmers recalled that until recently the farmers in Manipur had a surplus of food and even exported rice grown on fertile alluvial land. It was noted that the state missed the green revolution which swept India in various parts.
The farmers of Manipur continue to suffer under the hegemonic structures of internal colonization which not only impoverished and stripped away the honour and dignity of the farmers, but also made Manipur a food-dependent State.
Meihoubam Rakesh, Director Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director Human Rights Alert (HRA) and Mutum Churamani, President Loumi Sinmi Apun Lup (LOUSAL) said the three organisations also took eleven resolutions.
The meeting resolved to demand to restore the food self-sufficient status of Manipur and the dignity of the farmers.
Agricultural Policy should be formulated through an inclusive process and a strong farmers’ union for the whole of Manipur should be established to highlight the issues and concerns of the farmers, it was resolved.
The PDS suffered from various limitations in providing food security to the people as vested interest gains out of the system rather than the beneficiaries.
Government should buy the agricultural and horticultural products of the farmer by ensuring a Minimum Procurement Price and distribute it through the existing Targeted public distribution system, it was also resolved. Distribution of seed and biofertilizer should be done equitably and transparently, it was added.
The river lift irrigation and Loktak lift irrigation system should be made fully functional and new initiatives should be taken up with a special focus in the hill areas to harvest and retain rainwater it was demanded.
Multiple and diverse cropping should be encouraged, mono-cropping and excessive use of pesticide and insecticide should be checked effectively. Liberal credit facilities to farmers, a stable market of the agricultural and horticultural products, training in the modern form of agricultural practices, food processes and marketing were also demanded.
It also resolved that “Learning from the negative impact of the Palm oil tree plantation, elsewhere, the farmers of Manipur will resist the plan, tooth and nail. During his visit to Manipur on Jan 4 last, the Prime Minister had announced that the Rs 11,000 crore National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) being undertaken by the government would be implemented in Manipur and other northeastern states.