Supporting agricultural sector amidst COVID-19 to ensure increased production

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With the pre-monsoon showers beginning, farmers across the country started to prepare their farmlands for growing crops, especially rice.
It is worth noting that the Agricultural Mechanization Department has offered ploughing with tractors at a reasonable price and helping farmers in their land preparation activities.
The action is indeed a very satisfactory news for agriculture which is a major sector for our economy, and is crucial to reduce our food insecurity.
Mechanization is not a new concept. But, the question is why our farmers get worries for adequate preparation in some areas every year.
Not every farmer owns a tractor or power tiller. They have to hire the agricultural machine from private owners to prepare for their land. To get the agricultural machinery in a timely manner is not an easy job for farmers in areas which are far from towns.
The Agricultural Mechanization Department has opened frontline camps and provides ploughing services at reasonable prices, along with mechanic services for agricultural machinery owned by farmers.
Farming is a clear priority of the government as it aims to increase production, promote food security and boost exports, while raising the standard of living for households dependent on farming.
Limited land consolidation, lack of access to tilling tractors on both hilly and flat land, few investors in cooperatives are still hampering the progress in embracing agricultural mechanization.
We did not face shortage of food amidst COVID-19 thanks to our hardworking farmers though the emergence of the novel coronavirus has hurt the agricultural sector from production through consumption. The supply chain would be at risk if the crisis persists.
We need to increase government support to protect front-line farmers by helping land preparation for cultivation and financing under the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP). This will ensure production does not decline during COVID-19.
While providing financial assistance, we need to closely monitor the impacts from both this pandemic and mechanization on the agricultural labour community, about their next or future employment.
Local authorities should be prepared to authorize additional support when necessary. We must think long term. The food security of the nation depends on our ability to think in the long term and make adequate preparations accordingly.

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