The Agriculture and Horticulture Departments jointly held a meeting through video conferencing with district-level officials on 3rd April 2020 to discuss various issues relating to farmers’ welfare in view of lockdown due to spread of COVID-19. The meeting chaired by the Principal Secretary, Agriculture and Horticulture Departments was also attended by Secretary, Agriculture, Secretary, Horticulture and other senior officers of both the Departments. The districts were represented by District In-charges/senior officers of both the Departments. The Principal Secretary took stock of the overall situation of departmental activities as well as supports being extended to the farmers during the ongoing lockdown period. It was apprised by the districts that they have been facilitating the aggregation and market linkages including the issue of passes so that the farm produce could be sold to the consumers through Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs), NGOs and SIMFED without any difficulty. Further, the Farmers’ Helpline was also created with two dedicated senior officers from each district who will be available over the phone every day from 8 am to 6 pm to extend all possible supports for marketing and other farmers related issues during lockdown period. The Principal Secretary and both the Secretaries briefed officials manning Helplines regarding ways and means to facilitate farmers during lockdown period as well as using the channel to educate them for observing safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The meeting also directed the district officials to explore the possibility of utilizing the lockdown period for preparing the District Annual Action Plan for 2020-21. The district officials highlighted various field level activities undertaken by them across the State to mitigate the current situation concerning farmers. Currently, with the support of Department; almost all FPOs are fully engaged in aggregation and marketing of their farm produce. They are also making optimum use of transport vehicles granted to them by the State Government for marketing purpose.

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