Herald: Farming WITHERS in Cuncolim, as fields lie idle and BARREN
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Farming WITHERS in Cuncolim, as fields lie idle and BARREN

18 Jan 2018 05:26am IST
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18 Jan 2018 05:26am IST
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Cuncolim fields without cultivation for past two decades, as Cuncolkars no longer seem interested in farming

Not so long ago Cuncolim and surrounding villages like Assolna, Velim, Sarzora and Chinchinim were well known for agricultural activities. 

However, strange as it may sound, but the truth is that this erstwhile fertile region of Cuncolim is slowly turning barren. 

Cuncolim and surrounding villages were known for farming and paddy cultivation. And beside extensive paddy cultivation, farmers also grew chilly and other seasonal vegetables. In fact, the red leafy vegetable and red chilly of Cuncolim had a great demand in the yesteryears. 

However, today all this may seem history. And surprisingly, not even the ten per cent of land is used for agricultural purpose as most farmers have left farming to take up other profitable and less cumbersome jobs. With about ninety per cent of farmers quitting the ancestral profession, only a handful of about ten per cent or even less are ensuring that their land is being regularly cultivated. 

It is difficult to imagine that not so long ago, farmers would account for hundreds of tonnes worth paddy yield. Sadly today paddy fields have been neglected and have turned barren or have been unscrupulously converted into construction zones. 

What’s more there was even a traditional legacy of irrigation system in Cuncolim.  And Cuncolim was known for twelve Bandharas and even the villager identity reflected this, as people were often referred to as ‘bara bandhache udak pillele Cuncolkars.’ These twelve bandhs provided enough water for farming activities. Beside this, some years ago, Irrigation Department, which is now known as Water Resource Department had brought Salaulim water to Cuncolim through an open canal. The WRD department had initiated a special cell called CADA Command Area Development Agency to boost farming in the region. The agency was given the charge to boost and develop farming activities in these parts.  Unfortunately, CADA has now become only ‘show piece’ agency. 

Some farmers say that they have been forced to leave farming activities because of stray cattle. One farmer Mukund Dessai narrated various problems farmers face. He said that in Cuncolim there are no landlords. 

“Chilly and vegetable cultivation was also become a thing of the past in Cuncolim.  Present generation thinks it is not a profitable business hence they assume that would be madness to put their hand in the agriculture business. I know there is no profit in this profession so what is the use to put my hand in mud,” asks Raju Dessai, a youth from the farmer community.

All fields in Cuncolim are lying without cultivation since last twenty years. Cuncolkars are no more interested in farming. 

However, one good thing that happened in farming profession is that farmers have not given up their dairy farming activities, which is a supporting business in agriculture.  There are three milk collection centers of Goa Dairy in Cuncolim and one SUMUL collection centre to collect milk. 

Government is now thinking of initiating community farming and has plans to take up uncultivated farms and agricultural land. If this indeed true, farmers may be forced to return to farming.

Many are still flummoxed at the lack of interest of current farmers, especially considering the fact that the ‘golden’ land is fertile, has plenty of water and has a rich history.

Zonal Agriculture officer of Margao Noronha pointed out that there are several schemes of agriculture department to boost agriculture activities but there are few takers. There are many schemes available to boost farming activities. The department has initiated the Community Farming Scheme wherein a group of farmers can come together and engage in modern farming, he said.
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