Panaji: The state government needs to address the issue of invasive mangroves that are affecting khazan lands and agriculture.
He was speaking on Friday at the laying of the foundation stone for commencing work on strengthening the bund protecting Zuva Khazan, from Panarim to Coimavaddo at Aldona, in the presence of Aldona deputy sarpanch Abitnya Sham Satardekar, agriculture director Nevil Alphonso, panch members, farmers and other officials.
The work is being taken up by the soil conservation division of the directorate of agriculture at a cost of Rs 3.4 crores.
The proposed length of the bund is 600 meters and protects 56 hectares. More than 70 agricultural tenants will benefit from this project which will be completed next year in May.
Ferreira said that he intends to approach the government on addressing the issue of invasive mangroves.
“Due to breach in the bunds, water enters the fields and hampers agriculture. When saline water enters the fields, mangroves develop and it decreases the area of agriculture. Then it becomes a CRZ issue and the mangroves cannot be cut. I want to make a proposal to the government. We don’t have to wait for the assembly session. These invasive mangroves inside the protective bund decreases the farming area. We need to have a balance on the lines of social forestry. The government has to awaken and realise that when mangroves are formed, the fields are ruined and then there is less area for cultivation,” he said.
Ferreira said that there is a need to promote agriculture among the youth. He also said that issues such as problems of bunds, minimum support price, farming equipment costs, etc, are affecting the farmers.
“Agricultural activities in the state are declining, and the assembly reply on this issue also reflects this fact. Also, I had raised the issue of the minimum support price for farmers in the assembly. However, the file is stuck with the finance department. The file should be cleared soon. Money should reach the farmers soon, and not a year later,” he said.
The Agriculture Director assured the MLA that the file on the minimum support price will be approved soon by the finance department.
He also said that khazan land area has declined considerably from 18,000 hectares as per official survey records.
“Farmers need to keep cultivating our khazan lands or else mangroves are formed and then reclaiming the land is difficult. The government is spending a lot of money to repair the bunds. The farmers must utilize the command area and cultivate crops,” he said.
He also advised the farmers to adopt community farming to bring down exorbitant costs. “The government is providing 90% subsidy, and this model is being replicated now in other states,” he added.
Adv Carlos Alvares Ferreira