Carlos seeks hike in support price, rewards for agriculture officers
PANAJI: Aldona MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira demanded that the government hike the support price for paddy from the current Rs 20 to at least Rs 24 so that the farmers can survive and sustain themselves as well has sought that the government test the seeds the supplies to the farmers before supplying them.
Speaking during the discussion on demands for grants to the Agriculture department, Ferreira also urged the government to resolve issues relating to tenancy by bringing the control of the Goa Agricultural Land Tenancy Act from the Revenue Department to the Agriculture department.
“I want the government to consider increasing the support price for paddy. For five years it has been the same at Rs 20. At least now increase it by Rs 4 so that they can get minimum sustenance,” he said.
“Schemes — support price for kharif crop people have not been paid for eight months. So also payments for supply to the horticulture department have not been paid for many months,” he also said.
“This time there was an issue of poor quality of seeds — then the national seed corporation came and did an inspection. Today I’ve received an email saying that 125 farmers were affected so eight tons of seed is being replaced. My request is that the seed be tested before it is dispatched. Under the seed act there are provisions to do testing of the seeds so that the farmers do not suffer,” he said.
The MLA also asked the government to bring about a system of procuring local vegetables and promoting their cultivation. “Why does the government not consider promoting local vegetables and local crops? the moment supply increases, the price will come down,” he said.
The Aldona representatives also had some warm words for what he said were the hard working and responsive officers of the agriculture department, especially pointing out to the efforts made by former director of agriculture Nelson Figueiredo and present director of Agriculture Nevil Alphonso.
Figueiredo even after his retirement has been helping and encouraging youngsters to take up farming and is at the forefront of farming revival activities in his village, he said.
Similarly, he recalled an instance when he wrote to director of agriculture Nevil Alphonso, who he said was very responsive when he asked for his help to reach out to farmers who were facing trouble in accessing services of the agriculture department during the lockdown months.
“He immediately wrote back and helped the avail of the services, improved the digital initiatives of the department and helped give them information online,” he said.
Ferreira also called on the government to regularise the services of some mid-level officers of the Agriculture Department who have been working on contract basis for the last so many years. “Today they are not in a position to seek jobs elsewhere because of their age. I am aware that there are some vacancies in extension officers of the department if they can be accommodated there,” he said.
Finally he raised the issue of funds of Rs 6,000 that were disbursed to the people under the central government scheme. “When the process started you called for applications and people filed applications and the money started being disbursed. Now the audit has raised questions and you want to recover the money and have asked the ZAOs to collect the money. But now the people have already used the money. You will simply be troubling the people,” he said.
The legislator also asked the government on how it will reconcile the two central government schemes — one for organic farming which is said is not taking place because it requires the creation of clusters and distribution of organic manure and the tribal sub plan of the central government which gives chemical fertilisers under that plan.