Agriculture and cooperation minister G Kaito Aye inaugurated Static Soil Testing Laboratory (STL), Fertilizer Quality Control Laboratory (FQCL) and Bio Organic Quality Control Laboratory (BOQCL) of Department of Soil & Water Conservation (DSWC) at the department’s office here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Aye stressed on having soil testing lab facilities in every district to help farmers determine fertility of the soil. He asked DSWC officials to give importance on testing soil, while encouraging farmers in Dimapur to utilise the testing lab so as to maximise quantity and quality of production.
He also asked officials to encourage farmers to get their soil tested, besides hosting activities to evince interest among the farmers, adding “Farmers are the backbone of the country”.
Later, when asked whether the state government had provided any compensation to farmers who had faced drought-like situation in the State, Aye maintained that the state government had not committed to compensate the farmers. He pointed out that the drought-like situation was a natural calamity and that no institution or government could be blamed for that. He however claimed that in view of the situation, advance supply of seeds and inputs were being extended to the farmers.
When further asked about his views on government’s plans for developmental activities at Agri Expo apart from the AC Market, he said that a 150-capacity (men and women) hostel for farmers was under construction and would be completed by March this year.
Meanwhile, soil & water conservation, geology & mining minister and NSMDC chairman V Kashiho Sangtam said that the State now had enough soil testing labs and urged the department officials to carry out intensive soil tests.
Pointing out that soil in many parts of the State had lost their fertility due to rampant use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, he hoped that the newly-inaugurated soil testing facilities would be of great help to farmers.
Sangtam encouraged the farmers of Dimapur to avail the benefit of soil testing lab in the district, adding that only minimal charges would be levied for the tests.
Sharing the technical report on the occasion, SWC director K Zhekheto Awomi stated that setting up STL and FQCL cost Rs 75 lakh each, while BOQCL cost Rs 85 lakh.
He announced that the department was also setting up two bio fertiliser production units at Rotomi and Seyochung, adding that installation of machineries was complete at Rotomi and that demonstration by technical experts and commissioning were awaited.
He revealed that the department was also partnering with Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in setting up automatic weather stations in Mokokchung, Zunheboto, Kohima, Kiphire, Longleng, Mon and Wokha, claiming that this would help in providing advisory services to farmers before any eventualities.
Earlier, the programme was chaired by SWC and geology & mining commissioner and secretary K Libanthung Lotha, while dedicatory prayer for the laboratories was offered by Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo (DABA) associate pastor Alemwati Longkumer.