Glamourising agriculture and supporting local crop varieties were the main suggestions made at a seminar held at International Centre, Goa on ‘Agriculture in Goa: Is it directed towards achieving food security?’
Food security of Goa was the focus of discussion given the fact that nearly 50 per cent of the State requirement in vegetables and fruits is exported from the neighbouring states with Karnataka being the main supplier.
Agriculture Director Satish Tendulkar listed out some of the schemes of the government aimed at promoting agriculture in the State. He pointed out that 75 per cent assistance is provided to purchase machinery and subsidies covering nearly 90 per cent of the cost is also provided.
While revealing that 15,000 farmers have availed of these schemes, he disclosed the department’s plans to increase the outlay for the schemes from the present Rs. 18 crore to Rs. 36 crores.
However, Darryl Pereira, CEO, Reira Eco Ventures that has been working in the agriculture sector for the past few years, said training and galmourising agriculture in order to attract the youth was the answer.
Yogita Mehra of TERI who has been working with the Chorao farmers stressed the need to protect local crop varieties. She pointed out that of the 30 varieties of local paddy seeds in Goa, only seven can be found now and further warned that even the famous Mankurad mangoes found only in Goa, are endangered.
Social activist Fr. Bismark Dias stressed the need for a holistic approach towards promotion of agriculture and blamed the Agriculture Department of inconsistent performance without proper planning.
Yatish Naik of the Pilerne Citizens Forum suggested that co-operative farming be promoted and also argued on the urgent need to minimize the gap between Goa’s potential in agriculture and actual production.