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National-level video conference on evolving Kharif sowing strategy next week

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The Centre on Thursday called a national-level video conference on April 16 for chalking out a strategy for sowing the rain-fed kharif crops, such as rice, and ensuring safety of farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The video conference assumes importance as quick and effective policy responses are required to be taken as farmers prepare for the kharif (summer) season during the time of lockdown.

Kharif sowing begins with the onset of the June-September south-west monsoon. “Kharif National Conference will be held on April 16, 2020, through video conferencing,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in a statement. A decision in this regard was taken after reviewing the relief measures taken for farmers with state agriculture ministers and senior officials through a video conference on Wednesday. Normally, about 106 million hectares are planted during the kharif crop season. While the onset of monsoon kick-starts sowing in June, which continues through mid-July, harvesting of crops begins by October.

Besides holding the kharif conference, Tomar in the meeting asked state governments to sensitise field agencies about exemptions given to the farm-related activities and allow movement of farm produce, farming products, fertilisers and farm implements and machinery.

In the meeting, the crucial issues related to farming operations and harvesting, agriculture marketing and mandi operations, procurement at minimum support price (MSP), provision of inputs (seeds and fertilisers), and issues related to logistics and movement of agriculture and horticulture produce were discussed. Tomar also appreciated the proactive steps taken by the state governments to ensure agriculture activities even during the challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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