Agriculture department issues guidelines for Covid lockdown

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The Department of Agriculture has clarified that in view of the lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent issue of GO No.45 which seals all inter-state borders except for the movement of essential and perishable commodities.

The Minister’s peshi has released a memo no.49/APC Peshi/2020 dated March 23, 2020, further ordering that the production of essential commodities like Dal & Rice Mills, food and related units and also feed and fodder units will be permitted to operate. Further informed that under Essential Commodities Act under Section-2(A) for the purposes of this schedule drugs means:  

1) Fertilizers whether inorganic or organic are mixed,

2) Seed or food crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables 

3) Seeds of cattle fodder and jute seeds. It is also ordered that Agriculture, Horticulture, Agricultural Marketing departments shall be fully functional, the supply chain and transport of essential commodities, sale of fruit, vegetables and warehousing activities will continue in view of the above, following further guidelines are issued:

Seeds

• The harvesting season of seed crops will start from February to May months across all corps. 

• The harvesting, post-harvesting, shipment of raw seeds and packing activities of all seed crops are in peak across production states. Presently Hybrid Maize, Sorghum, Forge crops, Pearl Millet, Cotton, Pulses, Rice And Groundnut & Vegetable Seeds etc. are in movement from production locations to Hyderabad. The seed production is done in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Odisha & MP etc and these are interdependent on the movement of seeds with Hyderabad for further handling. 

• The Seed Storage, Testing, Processing, Grading and Packing, R&D etc facilities at Hyderabad are now in full swing and going on in all processing units. More than 70% of the Indian seed requirement is supplied by Telangana, for this March, April, May and June moths are very critical to do all back end process to timely supply to Kharif 2020 season. 

• Total 6.21 lakh MT of corn cobs, the raw seed of major seed crops are to be shifted to Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana for storage, testing, processing, grading and packing and dispatching to the processing plants. 

• Total more than 5 lakh farmers are involved in seed production. 

• The allied industry like packing material, seed treatment chemical suppliers and distributors and dealers are also very important in supplying the seeds to all over India.

  • All the Seed companies are directed to take all suitable measures and safeguards and see that seeds of all crops handled by the Seed companies are supplied to farmers during coming Kharif season 2020.
  • The companies are further informed that no hoarding of the Seeds shall happen in the State.
  • All the processed and packed seed must be made available to the farmers well before on the set of monsoon.
  • The companies are directed to follow the below mentioned essential safeguards.
  • There shall be no congregation of more than 5 persons in any processing/storage units while performing their duties a social distance of at least 3 ft shall be maintained from person to person.
  • Proper sanitation shall be ensured in all premises where labour/persons/staff are working in seed processing/Storage units. Sufficient provision of masks/sanitizers/hand washers shall be made available 

• All the seed companies shall make payment of wages /salaries fully to the workers/employees during the lockdown period.:!

• The staff and workers working in the seed companies are permitted to move to the extent required for carrying out their job responsibilities.

  • The identity cards issued by the company employing them can be used for ascertaining their identity.
  • The vehicles carrying the seeds from the farmers’ fields to the processing plants, from one processing plant to another processing plant to the distribution points (C&F agencies) or from distribution points to the retailors are permitted after due inspection based on the accompanying documents which clarify that they are nothing but seeds or the packing materials, leaflets, treating materials etc., required for packing seeds. 
  • All the seed companies are directed to follow the above-mentioned directions/guidelines without any deviation otherwise suitable action as per existing seed laws / Government orders will be taken. 

Therefore all the above activities are permitted and Seed dealers shall continue functioning during the lockdown period.

Fertilizers 

All the stakeholders involved in the Fertilizer Rake operations, i.e., Hamali Unions, Lorry transport Unions, other labour hired for loading-unloading operations, H&T agents, Local Contractors etc., shall continue the operations following adequate safety measures to protect from Covid-19. 

  • All the Fertilizer Dealer shops shall remain open. The buyers shall be advised to maintain 3ft distance while purchasing the stocks.
  • The Dealers are to provide hand sanitizers and ensure hand sanitization by the buyers before and after biometric authentication.
  • All goods vehicles carrying the Essential Commodities (Seed, Fertilizer & Insecticides)/ services shall be allowed to ply during the lock-down period in the State. 
  • Fertilizer dealers shall continue functioning.

Horticulture: 

  • An internal monitoring committee is constituted to monitor arrivals and prices of vegetables and fruits of both Hyderabad city and Districts in coordination with the Agricultural Marketing Department.
  • The Department will ensure mobility and arrivals of fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits to local Mandies and Rythu bazaars in coordination with District Administration.
  • Daily Assessment of the requirement of vegetables in Municipal areas. 
  • Frequent assessment of the present standing crop-wise area, production details. Future plan for increasing vegetable area under needy crops to overcome the crisis.
  • District Horticulture officers are directed to tour vigorously to watch production arrivals, and to prepare, plan for future, areas, and void transport of vegetables from one area to another area.
  • District Horticulture officers to coordinate with concerned Marketing department officers in their districts and if any exorbitant prices of vegetables are noticed they shall bring the same to the notice of District Collector immediately.
  • To motivate new farmers for promoting vegetable cultivation within the District for meeting internal consumption rather than bringing from far off places to avoid huge transportation cost.
  • All the Municipal corporations and urban agglomerations are being monitored for effective supply management of vegetables duly assigning a Horticulture Officer. All the staff and HOS-are allotted to monitor closely the arrivals and rates of designated town
  • Based on the need permits will be issued to the traders for clearance at the Check post. 
  • At GHMC level special team is constituted to monitor arrivals/planning.
  • All the teams to send the reports by 4.00 pm every day in the prescribed proforma. 
  • APC & Secretary would review the activities/arrivals with the Essential of Commodities monitoring team on a daily basis. 

Marketing: 

  • The restriction of movement of persons under the G.O, will not apply to farmers carrying Agriculture Produce to Wholesale Markets, Rythu Bazars, etc, in the State. 
  • It will also not apply to Traders/Commission Agents doing business in agriculture produce at wholesale markets in the State.
  • It will also not apply to Hamalies/Dhadwais, etc, working in Wholesale Markets in the State.
  • The Commission Agents/Traders shall provide requisite hand washes and hand sanitizers to all the persons who are working in their shop premises daily. 
  • The Agricultural Market Committee shall also provide requisite hand washes, and hand sanitizers at all the Canteens, Toilet Blocks, Water Points, etc., in the Market Yards, Rythu bazaars.
  • Only one person (Farmer) shall be allowed into the Market Yard along with the produce.
  • With regard to the sale of vegetables and other items in Rythu Bazar, a clear distance of more than a meter has to be maintained between the 2(two) customers for orderly purchase. The Estate Officers of Rythu Bazar shall immediately intimate local police for sufficient deployment during the peak purchasing period. 
  • The Estate Officer shall constantly announce the rates as supplied by the Marketing Department through the Public Address System.
  • For all the purposes the rates of vegetables and fruits as prevailed on 20-03-2020 or 21-03-2020 shall be taken as the basis and no exorbitant hike shall be made against any item by exploiting the Corona Epidemic crisis.
  • The Price as fixed by the District Collectors in this regard is final.
  • As the Wholesale Markets are allowed to function under the GO, they shall function as usual. However, the decision of the District Administration in this regard shall be followed.
  • The Police, Monitoring the Borders of Inter-State, shall allow the movement of vegetables and fruits to Wholesale Markets without any hindrance.
  • As far as possible all the transactions in the wholesale AMCs including payment to farmers shall be through online mode only.
  • All the Commission Agents and Traders operating in the AMCs and Rythu Bazaars (SHGs) shall not hoard any items meant for public purchase and they will be dealt severely for any violations.
  • The maintenance of sanitation in the Market Yards/ Rythu Bazars shall be keenly observed. Any negligence in this regard will attract stringent disciplinary action against the Secretary of AMC and Estate Office of Rythu Bazar. The Agreement conditions for the Contractors of cleaning of Garbage shall clearly be implemented for the sake of cleanliness.
  • Criminal cases shall be filed against the Contractors for any violations. 
  • In case of any Farmer desiring to store his produce in the AMC Godowns for deferred sales, such farmers shall be allowed without any charges.

Warehousing 

  • Warehousing corporation acts for purchase, sale, storage and distribution of agricultural produce, seeds, manures, fertilizers, agricultural implements and notified commodities. 
  • Warehousing activities relating to Seeds, Fertilizers, Pesticides, Dal, Rice, Food Related items are permitted to continue and the warehousing corporation shall make payment of wages/salary fully to the workers/employees including those working under contract and outsourcing basis during the lockdown period. 

• Specific provisions shall be made in all premises for masks/sanitizershand wash.

  • The social distance of 3 ft shall be maintained. 
  • The above orders take immediate effect and should be adhered to scrupulously.