Land policy boon for farmers

Aizawl, Jan. 15: The New Land Use Policy, Mizoram's flagship programme for farmers and rural development, has caught national and international attention, making its prospects very bright, said chief minister Lalthanhawla at a function to celebrate Farmers' Day here yesterday. The scheme will ultimately bail out the poor farmers, he hoped.

He said two years of implementation of the policy have not only increased farmers' productivity, but the success rate of the farmers under the programme has motivated the nation's planners to invest more in the scheme, besides generating enough interest in the international community. This has resulted in a recent visit of consultants from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) under the United Nations and the University of Minnesota (USA) to study the programme.

The chief minister said these organisations are ready to launch a joint operation to technically support the policy. A memorandum of understanding is being formulated for the same between these organisations and the Mizoram government and the University of Mizoram, he said.

Lalthanhawla said his government's vision to uplift the much-neglected rural economy by providing both land and money as initial investment to farmers has paid dividends all across the state.

He handed over cash award of Rs 1.5 lakh for the "most successful farmer" to Roluaha of Saipum village.

Farmers' Day was celebrated all over the state to mark the second anniversary of the implementation of the policy. A cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh each was given to Baktawng Tlangnuam and Sekhum villages for best implementation of the programme.

The policy has all the ingredients for sustainable farming such as livelihood, food security, inclusive growth and transparency, which has attracted such attention, said the vice-chairman of the NLUP board, P.L. Thanga, a retired bureaucrat.

Under the policy, each beneficiary is supposed to get about 1 hectare of land and anything up to Rs 2 lakh to implement a project which they choose from a list which includes cash crop cultivation (broomstick, bamboo), food crop cultivation, animal husbandry or some tertiary project such as beauty saloon, dtp operation, carpentry and so on.

Speaking at the function, the leader of the team from the University of Minnesota, Prof. Karlyn Eckman, said their trip to Mizoram was sponsored by the "One Health" programme under the FAO, which basically looks into the close link between human and animal health. �

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