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Mizoram far from self-sufficiency in rice
Zodin Sanga
 AIZAWL, Nov 1 - In spite of the Congress Government’s ambitious project to make Mizoram self-sufficient in rice production through its flagship New Land Use Policy, the hilly State has a very long way to go to achieve that.A two-year research by Prof Vishwambhar Prasad Sati and research scholar Lalrinpuia Vangchhia revealed that of the 1,727 families surveyed across the eight districts of Mizoram, only 12.4 per cent was secure in food stock.

“The majority of the families will go hungry if import of rice to Mizoram is discontinued for a week,” the survey said. The survey, which findings have been published in a book form by Switzerland publisher Springer, was conducted in two villages each in the eight districts of Mizoram covering all households in the villages, except for Lengpui where only 80 per cent families were surveyed.

Of the 1,727 rice-farming families surveyed, only 2.1 per cent produced surplus rice. While 4.3 per cent produced enough rice for their annual consumption, the remaining 95.6 per cent did not produce enough rice and depended on PDS rice or retail shops. While 13.7 per cent families surveyed entirely depended on imported rice 73.9 per cent produced little amount of rice but almost entirely depended on imported rice.

Even as majority of families in the rural areas heavily depended on rice from government-subsidised public distribution system (PDS), of the 16 villages surveyed only 11 villages get regular ration. The remaining five villages are unable to purchase rice from the government retail shops regularly even if they have money, the survey found out. This implies that at least 30 per cent of the entire villages in Mizoram do not get regular supply of rice from the PDS, the survey said.

The survey found that while majority of the families depended on agriculture, their contribution to village’s annual income is a meagre 0.4 per cent while government employees who constituted six per cent of the total families surveyed, contributed 69.7 per cent of the total income.

The survey also found that there was 3.5 per cent families whose annual income was less than Rs 5,000, while families whose annual income was between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 accounted for 33.4 per cent. There were 11.3 per cent families whose annual income was between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 while 25.3 per cent families generated above Rs 20,000 annual income.

On climate change, the survey said that 98.1 per cent families agreed that temperature was on the rise by the year, of which 28.5 per cent claimed that the rise in temperature had positive effects on their farm products and livestock. While 41.2 per cent said climate change had negative impact, the remaining 28.2 per cent did not see any impact of climate change on their crops. Those who said global warming had positive impact, experienced that uncultivable land became cultivable due to the rise in temperature. “This shows that global warming has positive impact on those areas with cold climate, like eastern Mizoram, while northern and western parts of Mizoram that have hot climate experience negative impact of global warming,” the survey said.

The survey also found that of the 1,727 families surveyed, 25.5 per cent said that proper irrigation was their major need while 24.2 per cent said they needed pesticides, fertilisers and scientific method the most to boost their farm product.

The survey made a conclusion that as many as 90 percent of families in Mizoram depended on imported agricultural products and only ten per cent was self-sufficient.

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