Agri mechanization remains dream for Goa farmers

Goa government`s mechanization schemes in agriculture sector has remained out of bound for several farmers, who are relying heavily on the conventional methods and the rain God for a good crop.

Updated: Jul 07, 2011, 12:07 PM IST

Panaji: Goa government`s mechanization schemes in agriculture sector has remained out of bound for several farmers, who are relying heavily on the conventional methods and the rain God for a good crop.

With the onset of monsoon, the government authorities claim that they are working overtime for lend helping hand for the farmers, who take on to the fields.

But the reality in many parts of Goa seems to be different. Victoria Fernandes, who cultivates paddy in Taleigao village, a stone throw away from here, says that they have not received any government help.
"We are traditional farmers. But we are not getting any subsidy. Not a single officer from agriculture department has arrived here," she said, who was seen working in the field along with two other women.

Taleigao, conventionally, has been considered as a rice bowl of the state but now has ceased to enjoy the title due to rampant urbanization, which has turned paddy fields into residential colonies.
Fernandes said they have to shell out Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 for two and half hours to plough their fields with the mechanized tiller. “There are no bulls so we have to plough with the machine," she explained.

The story is similar in the far off interior places of Sattari, a constituency represented by Agriculture Minister Vishwajit Rane.

Many of the farmers are bereft of any modern equipment to carry their farming activity.

Ramkrishna Barve (70) says he loves farming and would like to get more area under cultivation.

The septugenarian, who reformed the barren land in Nagargao village of Sattari into a green patch, stated that he did it without any government assistance. His village lays 100 kms away from Panaji in the lap of Western Ghats.

"We came here when we were in poverty. Farming gave us livelihood. I am happy that my next generation is also interested in continuing with the farming," said Barve, who had his wife helping him out in planting a Banana tree, when we went there.

The menace of wild animal in his property, which is next to Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, is a major problem for him. Barve said earlier wild boars used to mess the plantations and now the wild monkeys are on rampage.

"I am not compensated by anyone, neither agriculture department nor forest department," he said.

The only modern relief for Barve is the electric fencing that is proposed by the agriculture department around his plantation to keep wild animals at bay.

"Let’s see what wonder it (fencing) does," he quipped. The State Agriculture department has said that they are now intending to intensify the Mechanisation in rural Goa. Sattari taluka has been taken as a test case by the department.

Rane, agriculture minister, recently told a news conference, that nearly 3,000 farmers from Sattari taluka would be given modern equipments.

"Many a times the money does not percolate to the grass root level," he admitted. He said that the state government will try to reach to each and every farmer as there is sufficient money in the coffers.

"The budgetary allocation has been increased from mere Rs 17 crore to Rs 69 crore for financial year 2011-12," Rane added.

PTI