State agriculture dept seeks help to improve yield on unused lands
KOLKATA: The state Agriculture department is writing to the researchers at different universities in the sector, seeking advice to ensure better yield on agricultural lands which mostly remain unused throughout a year.
At the same time, an assessment has been put forward to calculate the number of lands that need attention to augment agriculture produce.
In a reply to a question at the state Assembly, the state Agriculture minister Asish Bannerjee said: "Letters have been given to scientists involved in agricultural research work at universities in the state. Suggestions have been sought to augment agricultural produce on unused lands and the ones with unimpressive produce."
It may be mentioned that the agriculture produce in Bengal has gone up due to several steps taken by the Mamata Banerjee government in the past six years. The state has also bagged the "Krishi Karman Award" from the Centre for the fifth consecutive year. Moreover, the state government has ensured increase in paddy cultivation on the 1000 acre land in Singur, which had been acquired for Tata Nano's project and later handed it over to the farmers following a verdict of the Supreme Court.
Taking researchers' assistance will ensure further increase in agricultural produce in the state.
Top brass of the state Agriculture department will conduct a meeting with the researchers to determine which issues should be taken up and prepare a roadmap to ensure that the suggested steps are taken into account.
The state Agriculture department has also set a target of giving soil health cards to over 25.5 lakh farmers in the next two years. The process has started and they test around 3 lakh soil samples collected from various lands across different parts of the state. In 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial year, 13 lakh samples were tested and soil health cards were given to 41.31 lakh farmers.
Banerjee was told at the Assembly on Monday that crops, vegetables and flowers worth Rs 6911.81 crore were damaged due to the floods that affected 29 districts. Around 28.94 lakh metric tonne paddy, 21,000 metric tonne ground nut, 23000 metric tonne maize, 1.60 lakh metric tonne jute, 7.17 lakh metric tonne vegetables, 69000 metric tonne flowers, 9000 metric tonne spices and a huge amount of bettle leaves were destroyed in the floods.
The districts that were mostly affected include Hooghly, Howrah, North and South 24-Parganas, East West Midnapore in South Bengal and Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North and South Dinajpur.