As an effect of lockdown due to Covid-19, Agriculture Minister of Goa state, Mr. Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar held a video conferencing session with all the Regional Agriculture Officers across the state. This was a 1st successful communication by a minister in the Agriculture department where all the 11 Regional officers from the department actively participated.
The meeting went on for around 3 hours, Regional officers got an opportunity to introduce the problems related to farming and farmers to Agriculture minister directly. The key points discussed were, the effect of lockdown on farming, preparations of monsoon harvesting, farming-based solutions to boost the economy, etc.. They discussed these points in detail.
Regional officers informed the minister about the problems farmers have to actually face like the rates they are getting for vegetables, instability in vegetable plantations, and further distribution of the produced vegetables.
Minister advised them to make sure that, the maximum share of profit from the upcoming monsoon harvest remains with the local farmers only. He ordered to put in all the efforts in this respect. He also orders the agriculture officers to make a primary report of all the loss caused to floriculturists due to the Covid-19 lockdown and submit it as soon as possible.
“The agriculture minister shall spend half of their working time in office and half the time in farms. You all need not have to come to the Minister’s office for such meetings. And this is the reason we have organized this meeting over Video Conferencing”, the minister said.
He informed that the online video meeting was held by considering the need for social distancing and such meetings will be held more often now to save the time officers have to spend in traveling so that they can utilize the time in helping farmers. Director of Agriculture Department, Nevil Alphanso, Secretary Kuldeep Singh Gangar and Officer Satyavan Dessai was also present for the meeting.
This is a welcome step by the Agriculture minister. Due to Covid-19 lockdown economy has crashed badly and farming is the only solution to bring back the lost glory of a state. Farming can make Goa self-sufficient again. Fortunately, large number of Goan youth have shown interest in farming and they are looking at farming as an employment option. The government shall work hard on the agriculture policy and provide locals with the best schemes so that youth and local farmers get encouraged to do farming. Proper farming policy for youth is expected from the Government as soon as possible which will bring more youth in farming and which could help to fight with the economical problems in this time of crisis.
Also, community farming shall be brought into practice. Most of the farmers suffer due to the lack of market they get. Usually, farmers who do the cultivation, don’t have time to spend in markets to sell their products. This gives rise to commission-based selling. This has risen to such a level that there are lots of middle parties who steals the commission giving less price for actual farmers. As a solution for this, e-commerce based applications/websites can be developed for farmers where they can list their produces on a daily basis and consumers can directly order. This will be beneficial to both farmers and consumers.