Panaji: Responding to the claims made about setting up Farmers Producing Organisations in Goa, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed it as yet another lie by the Bharatiya Janata Party chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and asked him to first address the immediate needs of the farmers in Goa instead of making lofty promises which will never materialise.
AAP Goa Convener Rahul Mhambre pointed out that farmers including agriculturists and dairy farmers in Goa have been facing severe problems and literally begging the government for some help while the government is now asking them to form Farmers Producing Organisations and promising help two years later in 2020.
“The farmers are distressed today and need immediate help and cannot wait for two years unless Dr Pramod wants to help the surviving members of farmers who would have committed suicide by then,” he said.
While admitting that agriculture has not been given much importance in Goa and that Goan products like cashew candy needs to be branded and marketed along with Goan rice, Rahul however demanded that the agriculture department clearly state what are their plans instead of making lofty claims just to misguide the farmers.
He pointed out that farmers from Kundaim village have suffered severe losses this year due to heavy rainfall because of which their plantations were flooded destroying their total crop. “While last year the same farmers suffered lost their crop because the bandh breached and saline water entered their fields, this year the heavy rainfall has totally destroyed their crop again,” he said.
Rahul argued that farmers from Kundaim are looking to the government for some help as they have lost their crops for two successive years and instead the government is asking them to come together today to get some help in another two years. “The farmers need help today not after another two years,” he said.
He also pointed out that farmers from Carambolim also facing problems as their fields are getting flooded. Memers of the Dhado Khazan Tenants Association from Carambolim recently met the Agriculture Department officials to place their grievances.
The farmers besides facing the problems caused by the pandemic also have to deal with the perennial problem of their fields getting flooded due to breaches in the bandh due to which even in the month of December their fields remain flooded and uncultivated.
“The chief minister would do well to address these problems first and direct his agriculture minister to attend to them instead of just shooting ideas of forming farmers producing organisations when Goan farmers cannot even market their produce properly.
Even dairy farmers are crippling under the lopsided policy of the government and are now threatening to launch an agitation if the milk procurement prices are not increased besides paying the other incentives they are eligible for.
Rahul pointed out that Goa Dairy is managed by an administrator for nearly a year and every time the dairy farmers have any problem they have to deal with a new person who asks for time to study the matter as the administrator is transferred every now and then.
He said out that SUMUL which is based outside Goa is paying the promised incentives to Goan dairy farmers who supply their milk to it and lamented that the Goa Dairy is not making this payment.
He said the sugar cane farmers are already in trouble as the sugar factory has stopped crushing cane and Goan farmers have to sell their produce to factories in the neighbouring states.
Rahul demanded that Dr Pramod Sawant first attend to the immediate problems faced by Goan farmers before launching any Farmers Producing Organisations which will in all probability end up like the dairy co-operative society or the sugar factory nothing but a white elephant.