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‘Receding agricultural land a curse to food sovereignty’

by Rinku Khumukcham
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IT News

Thoubal,June.10: Occupation of once agricultural lands to take up commercial projects like setting up brick fields and offices is one of the major banes in the pursuit of self-sufficient food production and food sovereignty, observed key speakers at the one-day seminar on sustainable agro forestry management held at Manipur Dramatic Union here today.

President of AMUCO Ph Devan said the level of aggression and targeting of agricultural lands by rich people for their personal gains and commercial interest led to conscription of the lands for non-productive and non-agricultural activities. This worsened the food dependency of the state on outsiders.

Longjam Memchoubi, president of Poirei Leimarol said procurement of agricultural lands for running business and forced acquisition have landed the state’s agriculture system in a crisis. She went on urge the public to take a major role in promoting food sovereignty, stating that defense of agricultural land and ensuring agricultural growth will bring peace and prosperity in the state.

Devan described the current situation of gradual acquisition of agricultural land as a ploy by the government of India to ensure that the food dependency on outside remains.

“Earlier, the Centre use to say that Manipur is underdeveloped and poor in terms of resources and blamed the people. Today, Manipur is full of resources and the oil companies are being granted permission by the Indian government to loot and plunder these resources without people’s consultation and consent,” he alleged.

He foresees major losses for the state if the planned drilling of oil in places of Manipur is allowed to go ahead.

“Oil exploration will lead to contamination of our land and also worsen seismic impacts. No one knows who gave permission and on what terms and conditions. It is clear the companies and the Government of India will benefit while the people of Manipur will be at a loss, with contamination of our land, water and forest,” he stated.

The efforts by oil companies to drill oil using the Indian army in Manipur will lead to much resistance from the people of Manipur. The Central government will face a public struggle like that of the June 18, 2001 incident.

President of Irabot Foundation, Rishikesh, spoke on the role of Hijam Irabot in promoting farmers rights and food sovereignty in Manipur.

It is high time we focus on appropriate initiatives to foster food sovereignty in Manipur and end food dependency on others, he added.   

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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