Sanjeev Chopra, additional chief secretary of the agriculture department, said a two-day conference attended by the representatives of all the seven agriculture research stations of the state ended on Tuesday.
The major thrust area of the conference was the development of techniques and new types of seeds using which cultivation is possible even if there is excess rainfall up to a certain limit or even if there is comparatively lesser rainfall in monsoon.
It may be mentioned that every year vast areas surrounding Ichhamati river, passing through Basirhat sub-division, get inundated due to flood causing damage to crops worth crores of rupees.
Last year, after the flood, the agriculture department gave money to the affected farmers, irrespective of political colour.
These had paid dividend in the election results as Trinamool Congress bagged a lot of seats – including that of Shamik Bhattacharya of BJP – in Basirhat North Assembly seats. At the same time the researchers have discussed how to develop newer methods of cultivation so that the farmers can make more profit.
It is worth mentioning that it had always been the target of the present government to help farmers get some more money after toiling a lot to ensure an increase in cultivation.
Besides discussing on the development of new methods of cultivation, the researchers have also pointed out the need of proper soil testing so that the farmers do not suffer a loss. Proper testing of soil helps in correct selection of seeds and at the same time farmers can adopt measures which are suitable for the particular type of soil.
Stress has also been given on development of new types of seeds that can be used to increase the yield or for a better quality crop.
West Bengal is the only state where there are separate research stations especially for agriculture, whereas in other states, it is mainly being done by the agriculture universities.
The situation remains under the control of the state government if the rainfall is 20 to 25 per cent more or less than the normal and the state government is ready to combat such a situation. But the situation would turn “abnormal” if the rainfall is more or less than 20 to 25 per cent.
The state government gives premium for insurance. A farmer automatically comes under the insurance if he or she takes loan through Kishan Credit Card.
At present, there are 55 to 60 lakh Kishan Credit Card holders in the state. But around 15 to 20 lakh cards are active or effective. Process has been initiated to increase the number of effective cards.
A farmer needs to pay an interest at the rate of 4 per cent if he takes a loan through Kishan Credit Card. But the banks also give a 2 per cent incentive if the loan is cleared on time.
There is an increase of 10 lakh metric tonne in the yield of rice in Kharif season and a target has been set to increase it more. West Bengal State Seed Corporation Limited distributes seeds among farmers. Stress has been given on timely distribution of seeds.