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Kuki-Meitei conflict may cause loss worth over Rs 226 crores to agriculture in Imphal Valley: Farmers' body report

The report said Bishnupur, Imphal East and Imphal West in the Meitei-dominated Valley could be the worst sufferers. Alarmed by the report, the Manipur agriculture department announces a compensation scheme worth Rs. 38.06 crores.
Last Updated : 01 October 2023, 17:30 IST

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As the five-month-long conflict kept Manipur's most farmers away from their fields, the state's agriculture may face loss worth over Rs. 266 crores, said a survey conducted by Loumee Shinmee Apunba Lup (LOUSAL), a farmers’ body in the state. 

The survey claimed that around 9,719 hectares of paddy fields in the Imphal valley alone could be facing crop failure as farmers are afraid to go into the fields because of sporadic firing by the armed miscreants from the foothills. "It is estimated that the total income loss for the state in the agricultural sector this year could be around Rs. 226.50 crore. Of this, the highest loss will be in rice production to the tune of Rs 211.41 crores which accounts for 93.36 per cent of total agriculture and allied activities followed by livestock farming," said the report. 

The report said Bishnupur, Imphal East and Imphal West in the Meitei-dominated Valley could be the worst sufferers. 


The report, however, did not talk about the crop loss in Kuki-dominated hills. 


"The five-month-long conflict coupled with inadequate rainfall points to the probability of crop failure, food insecurity and a threat to the livelihood of the people of the restive state," the report said. 

The report said Bishnupur, which shares a boundary with Kuki-dominated Churachandpur, has been one of the most vulnerable districts. Farmers of Phubala, Sunusiphai, Naranseina, Khoirentak, Kumbi, Sagang, Torbung, Wangoo and Khoijuman Khunou are among the worst hit, and some of them have even sustained bullet injuries, it said.

The president of LOUSAL, Mutum Churamani, who was part of the survey team, said, "The current situation is such that despite some security arrangements, our farmers are scared to venture out to the fields to take care of the paddy plants."


Responding to requests by the farmers and other civil society organisations in July, the Manipur government deployed about 2,000 security forces in the fields in order to allow the farmers resume paddy cultivation. But many stayed away fearing threat to their lives as firing continued in the "buffer zone" that separates the Valley and the Hills. 


More than 175 people have been killed and over 60,000 others have been displaced due to the clashes between the Meiteis and the Kukis since May 3. The sporadic incidents along the "buffer zone" have still remained a concern. 

Alarmed by the report, the state agriculture department has come up with a crop compensation package of Rs. 38.06 crores. The amount, according to the farmers, is inadequate. 


Oinam Brajalala, a farmer from Naransaina in Bishnupur said that security forces deployed at the foothills denied them access to the paddy fields located above the high canal. "They have declared the area as a red zone. We are not certain if we would be able to harvest whatever little paddy we have sowed. The water for irrigation has been diverted away by miscreants. Without water, how is it possible to cultivate paddy? We don't know when the firing will stop," he said.

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Published 01 October 2023, 17:30 IST

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