As rabi harvesting likely to pick up in the coming days, the government’s agri-research body ICAR on Saturday asked farmers to follow social distancing and safety precaution while handling farm machines and labour in the field. For tackling any emerging issue related to managing crops, livestock and fisheries, farmers should consult and be in touch with agri-scientists in Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), ICAR research institutes and state agricultural universities for timely advisories, it said.
“The disease crisis has coincided with the harvesting season of rabi food crops such as wheat, millets, pulses and oilseeds and other crops. We need to take precautions as we will be engaged in the harvesting of grains, fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs and fish,” Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Trilochan Mohapatra said in a statement. Similarly, proper sanitation is required for using shared or hired machinery for harvesting, he said, adding simple measures on washing of hands with soap, alcohol rub and maintaining isolation distance at personal level and proper cleaning of shared machinery are to be followed.
It is the time to religiously follow the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of maintaining personal hygiene and isolation by everyone for arresting the community transmission of the disease and endangering of millions of lives, he added. “My wishes for the well being of all farmers across the country at this critical time as we all face the pandemic of COVID-19,” Mohapatra said, adding that the government has taken several steps in order to prevent the spread of infection. The government has exempted farming operations, farm workers, custom hiring centres of farm harvesters and implements as well as mandis and procurement agencies from the lockdown rules.