Cultivable land in Pithoragarh, Champawat drop by 60 per cent after formation of Uttarakhand
Pithoragarh, Dec 23
Cultivable land in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts of eastern Kumaon region of Uttarakhand has decreased by 60 percent since past 23 years after the formation of the state, due to migration from villages and uncontrolled menace of wild animals, as per the data of agricultural department.
“In Champawat district, the total cultivable land was at 28992 hectares before the formation of state, that has now remained at 16975 hectares presently,” said Gopal Singh Bhandari, Chief Agricultural Officer of Champawaat.
“The production of agriculture products has also reduced by 19 percent in the district in last 24 years,” said the Champawat Agricultural Officer.
Not only the production of wheat, paddy, mustard and local pulses have reduced but also the production of millets has also gone down in last years.”The production of millets in the district that was 6972 metric tonne, under 3610 hectares of land some years ago has now remained at 4303 metric tonne in 2391 hectares of cultivable land,” said the officer.
Asked about the main reasons of reduction of cultivable land and agricultural production in Champawat, the agricultural officer said that whereas the villagers have left their homes in search of better livelihood due to unviability of agriculture as a profession, menace of wild animals has further added to the people not cultivating their lands in the district.”The menace of monkeys and pigs have become uncontrollable as these animals come in large groups to destroy the crops,” said the officer.
According to Pithoragarh agricultural officials, the total cultivable area in the district has reduced sizably. The area under agricultural in the district, that was 81165 hectares before the formation of state has now remained at 65531 hectares.” This situation has come also due to menace of wild animals and migration from interior villages in search of basic infrastructural facilities,” said Ritu Tamta, Agricultural Officer in Pithoragarh.
Lalit Mohan, a farmer in Askot area of Pithoragarh said that he has left agricultural work and resorted to other livelihood means as cultivation is being destroyed by wild animals year after year.”The number of ‘Langoors’, monkeys and pigs is on the rise over the years making it difficult for farmers to continue with agricultural profession,” said Lalit Mohan.
Pithoragarh Agricultural Officer Ritu Tamta, said that the farmers, who want to remain continue with agriculture are now resorting to poly house farming due to fear of wild animals.”There are several new generation farmers in the district who are growing vegetables or cash crops in poly houses with the help of help of Prime Minister’s Agricultural Irrigation Scheme, and earning a sizable profit as such agriculture practice is free from wild animal menace,” said Tamta.