BIJNOR: In a novel initiative, the agricultural and sugarcane department in district have joined hands to fight the perennial problem of malnutrition in the district. Almost 49,000 children are affected by malnutrition in the district. The district which adds immensely to the overall sugarcane produce has been lagging in production of cash crops like pulses and vegetables, forcing the farmers to procure it at higher rates from the market.
In the new scheme of things, department will promote mixed farming with impetus on farming of vegetables and pulses in tandem with sugarcane. On pilot basis, 22,000 hectare has been identified where mixed farming is being practiced.
According to statistics, provided by district programme office, there are around 3.39 lakh children in the district. Of these, while 49,000 are malnourished and around 20,000 children are acutely malnourished. These kids are from 0 to 5 years old. Besides this, women are also suffering from anemia.
According to official, it is because of increase in sugarcane cultivation area. In west UP, including Bijnor, farmers had almost sidelined other crops. Most of the farmers are growing only sugarcane.
The district cane officer OP Singh said, "We have assigned a target of sowing 22,000 hectare intercrop in sugarcane. Earlier, Bijnor district is a hub of sugarcane crop. Farmers have adopted it as a main crop as it is a cash crop and does not require much labourer. On our suggestion, the farmers have started growing some crops like cauliflower, bringal, tomato, capsicum, radish, salgum, gram, ourad, mong, masoor with sugarcane crop."
Director of agriculture department, JP Chaudhary, said, "The initiative will help improve the health of malnourished kids and women in the district. We are holding meetings in every village and motivating the farmers. Efforts will start bearing fruits soon."