IMPHAL, February 20: The real food security of the people of Manipur only lies with crop intensification in the available arable areas of the state and not with the National Food Security Act. It is evident from the fact that the benefits of most centrally sponsored schemes and programs had not been reaching the deserving beneficiaries in the state.
The statement was made by RK Imotomba, program coordinator of Kishan Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Bishnupur district during a state level consultation program on Manipur State Food Policy which was organised by Sustainable Livelihood Forum, Manipur.
The program was held at the Tribal Research Institute, Chingmeirong today.
Joy Nongmaithem, president of the All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association presided over the function which was attended by a group of people representing all the nine districts of the state.
Continuing his address, Imotomba further mentioned that Manipur government is now talking of food security of the people after dismantling/shutting down of rice and other crops research centres which were actively doing research work in the ‘80s.
He added that the high yielding KD variety of rice was a research product of state during the mentioned period of time.
He also said that it takes more than eight years of research to produce a high yielding new rice variety.
Further elaborating on the need for an agricultural policy, he said such a policy should not be formulated by the bureaucrats but by subject experts. RK Imotomba maintained that the arable land area and crop production of the state has touched its saturated point.
In order to cope with this situation, crop intensification should be encouraged by proving enough water through river lift irrigation or other means available in the state.
He also mentioned of the need of nutritional security while discussing food security.
In the post lunch session, Dr Chinglen Maisnam, assistant professor of economics, MU delivered a lecture on “Emerging Need of Having Manipur State Food Policy”, while advocate Rakesh Meihoubam talked on the “Need for Developing State Rule of Food Security schemes and provision.”
The state level consultation also recommended that the PDS items provided at present should be replaced with the locally available food items as far as possible; there should be farmers’ centric staff and office environment in the agriculture department, among others.