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Seeds provided to farmers as alternative to poppy cultivation

Source: Chronicle News Service

Senapati, October 02 2021: The office of Horticulture & Soil Conservation Department, Senapati in collaboration with the district police distributed quality seeds to farmers as an alternative to poppy cultivation during a training programme organised on Saturday.

Kh Upendra Singh, district officer of Horticulture & Soil Conservation Senapati, in his keynote address, stated that the training programme was organised under the chief minister's "War on Drugs" campaign and his department distributed good quality seeds/planting materials including cabbage and quinoa to the affected farmers, adding that ginger saplings will be distributed in January or February next keeping its planting season-in view.

He informed that the beneficiaries were selected through recommendations from SP office and the seeds were distributed to village headmen of different villages in the district for alternative cropping to poppy cultivation.

A high-protein, fat-free, fibre-rich 'Quinoa', which is very costly, was among alternative seeds distributed.

Quinoa cultivation is successful at Wangoo and the plant is being selected as poppy substitute by the department, he added.

SP (Senapati) M Pradip Singh said that destruction of poppy plantation has been started since the time of Athem Muivah as the DC of the district.

He elaborated that various awareness programmes had been organised post destruction of poppy plantation in the past and different tribe leaders of the district had also taken a pledge to prevent poppy cultivation in the district.

He further said that Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur have recorded the highest level of poppy cultivation and warned that nobody will be spared under ND & PS Act if found involved in such illegal practice.

Additional SP Tholu Rocky spoke on the topic "Awareness on illegal and negative environmental impacts of poppy cultivation in hilly areas of Senapati" .

He mentioned that acres of land were cleared for poppy cultivation and it leads to drying up of water sources, causes soil erosion and landslide.

The police officer also pointed out that excessive use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides has degraded the soil and its fertility.

Section 17 of the NDPS Act says that whoever manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports (import/ export) illegal substances in the state can face rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years minimum and 20 years maximum with fine of Rs 1 lakh and above.

Whoever cultivates poppy, ganja or any narcotic plants can he imprisoned for 10 years, extendable up to 20 years with a fine of Rs 1 lakh and above, he maintained.

Seeds of cabbage and Quinoa were distributed to selected 60-70 farmers.

Technical session continued in the later part of the programme wherein Homen Kangjam, farm manager KVK Hengbung, Senapati, spoke on "Alternative horticultural crops to replace poppy - cabbage, Quinoa and Ginger" while U Supriya Devi, AO Directorate of Horti & Soil Conservation, Manipur spoke on "Crop insurance of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)" .