Crop Diversification Brought To Focus In Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: In another significant step towards enhancing the cash return to the farmers and creation of subsidiary employment opportunities in the agricultural sector, the Odisha government has started an ambitious initiative of crop diversification in mega lift point (MILP) ayacut areas of the State.

The action plan for the coming Kharif season towards this effect was discussed in a high-level meeting held on digital mode under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra in Lokseba Bhawan wherein Secretary Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Suresh Kumar Vashishth outlined the issues for discussion.

Emphasising the positive impact of crop diversification on the agricultural sector of the economy, the Chief Secretary directed to enhance non-paddy cultivation in MILP areas during the ensuing Kharif season. Development Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena said, “There is a potentiality of non-paddy cultivation in more than 70% of the MILP ayacut areas”

Additional Chief Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner Raj Kumar Sharma advised undertaking intensive awareness and engagements with farmers for effecting real changes at ground level.  Principal Secretary Water Resources Smt Anu Garg appraised that the ayacuts would be redesigned and water supply would be regulated as per the requirements of non-paddy crops. With due deliberation, the target was set to achieve non-paddy cultivation in 60% of the MILP ayacut areas during the coming cropping seasons.

Further, the Chief Secretary directed to assess the annual non-paddy requirement for utilization in different programmes like PDS, MDM, ICDS supplementary nutrition programmes, residential school hostels, etc. The department was also asked to explore different marketing facilities of non-paddy products through e-NAM, Markfed, and online marketing systems both in the Government and private sectors. The details of the procurement plan were discussed in the meeting. Presently, non-paddy produces are being procured through agricultural primary cooperative societies. The proposal for involving WSHGs and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in the procurement process was given in-principle approval by the Chief Secretary. Mahapatra also directed to “start early engagement with farmers before the onset of the ensuing Kharif season”.

Secretary Vashishth appraised, “The total ayacut area of the MILPs is around 1.22.835 hectares. As per the present irrigation design, each outlet is programmed to irrigate 20 hectares. In the meanwhile, actual crop area and cropping pattern of these ayacut areas have been assessed. Arrangements have been done through Nafed, Markfed, CCI, TDCC, and JCI for procurement of the non-paddy produces”.

Director Agriculture Muthu Kumar presented the feasibility of a district-wise programme for non-paddy products like vegetables, Pulses, sesamum, ragi and maize, sugarcane, cotton, maize groundnut, and Ragi. He also appraised that directorate horticulture is preparing a web portal for market engagement and FPO operations. The system for marketing through E-NAM is also being strengthened.

District wise target was set for cultivation of non-paddy products as per the inputs received from different districts. The ambitious target was set to achieve 100% crop diversification in Ganjam district and more than 70% diversification in the districts like Bargarh, Gajpati, Koraput, Malkanagiri, Nabarangpur. More than 50% diversification target was set for Kalahandi, Rayagada, and Sambalpur districts. Crop-wise yield rate, cost of production, and net profit for non-paddy products were also discussed in the meeting and it was decided to make the farmers aware of it through intensive campaign.

Development Commissioner P.K.Jena, Additional Chief Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner R.K.Sharma, Principal Secretary Finance Ashok Kumar Meena, Principal Secretary Water Resources Smt Anu Garg, Secretary Cooperation Veer Vikram Yadhav, Director Agriculture Muthu Kumar along with senior officers and engineers of concerned departments participated in the deliberations.

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