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Farmers in tribal areas of Goalpara dist must take up rabi cultivation: expert

A water harvesting tank in an agricultural field in Goalpara district. – Photo: Goalpara Correspondent
 GOALPARA, Sept 18 - At a time when the government wants to double farmers’ income by laying emphasis on increasing productivity in agriculture through implementation of various schemes, it is felt that farmers, especially in the tribal areas of the district, should be encouraged to take up rabi crop cultivation to boost their income.

Talking to this correspondent, an agronomist from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dudhnoi, Dr Hari Charan Kalita said that there is tremendous prospect of crop diversification, especially in the tribal areas, which have a cropping intensity of 100%.

Dr Kalita pointed out that even though there is availability of labour, infrastructure and other technological inputs, but lack of proper and effective irrigation and drainage facilities during the winter and dry season, have proved to be a hindrance in taking up rabi crop cultivation in these areas. He further informed that these areas experience plenty of rainfall during the summer or the kharif season leaving the rest of the months dry. Rice remains the principal crop and it occupies 55% of the total 1,02648 hectares of cropped area in the district.

Dr Kalita was of the opinion that some planned interventions relating to the use of land and water scientifically and conservation measures to improve the overall moisture retention capacity of soil by taking up activities, specially those which envisage harvesting of rain and runoff rainwater by using low cost water harvesting structures to enhance the cropping intensity of these areas and making the unutilised land productive. He also said that a few such small water harvesting structures with the capacity for conserving around 30,000 litres of the runoff rain water during the rainy season can be incorporated on a mission mode on an experimental basis especially in the phase II of the Krishi Kalyan Abhiyan in the aspirational district of Goalpara to understand the effectiveness and impact of such structures on farmers especially with smaller land holdings and also to showcase and demonstrate the water harvesting technology to irrigate more land growing rabi crops.

He also added that since agriculture has been accorded high priority by the government and farmers, specially, in the tribal areas rarely cultivate a second crop, so encouraging them to take up cultivation of winter crops like winter vegetables will not only be a profitable venture but will also enhance their income with the help of increased availability of water through the water harvesting technology. On the other hand, the area will experience an increase in cropping intensity which is expected to increase the incomes manifold.

Dr Kalita also observed that certain social, traditional and structural barriers may inhibit the need to increase cropping intensity but these can be overcome through the dissemination of new technology which may be taken up through training and extension services.

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