ITANAGAR, Apr 17: Agriculture, Fisheries & Animal Husbandry Minister Tage Taki said the state government is coming up with a comprehensive plan to revamp all the government-owned farms in the state.
Reacting to the ongoing shortage of vegetables, meat and fish in the capital region following the ban on importing these items from Assam due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Taki, who also holds the horticulture portfolio, said the agriculture and allied departments have learnt a big lesson and are working out a plan to avert recurrence of such a crisis.
“Besides revamping the government-owned agriculture, horticulture, fishery and poultry farms, the government will encourage farmers, especially in the areas in and around the capital complex. If things go as per our plan, we will see a definite outcome in the near future,” he said.
The minister claimed that, compared to the capital region, the situation in the districts was better.
“In the districts, the agricultural produce market committees were very active. They got in touch with the farmers and provided them with the markets to sell their produces. This helped to mitigate the crisis and fresh vegetables were available in the markets,” Taki said.
He cited dependence on Assam as the reason behind the current shortage of vegetables, fish and meat in the capital region.
“Most of the people in the capital prefer to buy vegetables and meat from nearby markets of Assam, saying they get them in cheaper rates. Due to this, the farmers in and around the capital region have got discouraged over the years. People don’t realize that even if the local produces are a bit expensive, at least one will get organic or semi-organic items. The supplies coming from outside the state are not organic,” the minister said.
Fish and other animal husbandry-related farming have also been a failure because of the same reasons, he said.
“Majority of fish supply comes from Andhra Pradesh, and everyone knows that medicines are used to keep them fresh. There are hundreds of fish farms across the state and in the capital region, but people don’t buy, saying the local produce is costly. The fish farmers cannot sustain as they don’t get a proper price for their produce,” he said.
Taki informed that the agriculture department coordinated with the district administration, following which vegetable supplies have started coming to the capital in the last few days from places like Seppa, Yazali, Sagalee and Tawang.
Stating that a similar situation might arise again if there is some kind of blockade in Assam, the minister appealed to the people of the state to support the local farmers.
“We need to learn to be self-sustainable. We should stop depending on Assam and support the local farmers by buying local produces,” he said.