UPA trying to corporatise agriculture: Manik Sarkar

July 27th, 2010 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, July 27 (IANS) Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Tuesday accused the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi of trying to “corporatise” the agricultural sector in order to hand it over to a few people.
“Without land reforms India’s agricultural development is not possible. In the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, this vital issue was not raised by any chief minister, central minister or the prime minister except by Tripura,” the Left leader said.

Sarkar was speaking after inaugurating northeast India’s first private sector bio-fertilizer plant in west Tripura’s Radha Kishore Nagar, 15 km north of Agartala.

The plant, with over 600 metric tonnes initial production capacity, was set up at a cost of Rs.20 million without government support.

Sarkar said: “As land is a most productive resource, it should be utilised properly. Land reforms, as a tool for equitable distribution and productive use of an economic asset, should be given the highest priority with an aim of providing land to the actual tillers instead of confining it in fewer hands in the name of corporatisation of agriculture.”

Referring to the bio-fertiliser plant, the chief minister said: “In many parts of the world, bio fertilizer-based food products are most valued and in real terms it has ten times higher value than products grown through chemical fertilizers.”

The plant managing director Ratan Debnath said that such fertilizer has huge demand not only in India but in neighbouring countries too, specially Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

The bio-fertilizer plant has a separate unit of vermicompost, which is a valued organic fertilizer.

Rice husk is used as one of the raw materials in the plant, which would produce four types of bio-fertilizers. It has started supplying the fertiliser to the other northeastern states.

Renowned agricultural scientist and Tripura agriculture department Director Shiv Narayan Sen said: “For sustainable use of soil, its protection and for steady increase of production, there is no alternative to bio-fertilizer.”

“The Tripura government has been cultivating rice in large areas through system of rice intensification (SRI) method.”

“The bio-fertilizer would be helpful in the SRI cultivation method,” he said.

The SRI method, developed in the 1980s in Madagascar, is currently practised in 28 countries.

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