JOAO SOUSA M | NT
MARGAO: With manpower shortage, the agriculture department is eyeing to double the land under mechanised farming in the ensuing kharif season. The department has set a target of bringing 250 to 300 hectares of fields in South Goa under mechanised farming as against just 166 hectares in the previous year.
“Shortage of labour and high wages are the major factors affecting agriculture, that is why, many farmers have given up farming. In a bid to address these issues, the agriculture department has appointed two agencies to carry out complete mechanisation of paddy cultivation,” the deputy director of agriculture Nevil Alphonso said.
Speaking exclusively to ‘The Navhind times’, he said that “last year was the first time when we introduced mechanised farming, however, we were not well prepared. This time we are better prepared and are aiming to cover 250-300 hectares with nearly 150 hectares in Salcette alone.”
He said in Goa Don Bosco Society at Loutolim is doing the entire agriculture process, mechanised farming along with newly-appointed Karnataka-based Ramesh and Company to carry out germination and transplantation of paddy seedlings.
He said the government is giving 50 per cent subsidy at Rs 3 per square metre which includes germination and transplantation. The farmer has to register the variety of seeds they want with either of the two agencies which will come and carry out the transplantation.
He said the farmer has to pay just Rs 1.5 per square metre while giving an authority letter to the agency to seek direct payment of the subsidy amount from the department.
Alphonso said this will provide relief to farmers from the labour problems faced during the sowing
and transplanting phases. He said the farmer has to plan and register with the agencies in advance.
He said the farmers will have to prepare the fields and hand it over to the agency while the department is also exploring options of outsourcing the preparation of fields ahead of the agriculture season.
Replying to a question, he said, so far Rs 26.63 crore has been given in the form of subsidies and assistance to 52,028 beneficiaries most of which has been disbursed for mechanisation of agriculture.