An open letter to the people of Goa

Joao Barros Pereira
Monday, 10 February 2020

A growing voice of some of our tricky turncoat politicians to protect our farm land by enacting a law which will allow farm land to be sold

Farming land for sale or is it farmers for sale?

A growing voice of some of our tricky turncoat politicians to protect our farm land by enacting a law which will allow farm land to be sold

only to farmers might be good news for public consumption. Is there a dark side to this story - and a hidden agenda?

I say a word of caution is necessary as the public has been taken for a royal ride more often than not, and as with the Goa Carnival, people

will dress up and masquerade as various personalities including wolves in sheep clothing.

Do you remember the formalin in fish problem? Is the problem solved? How safe is our fish today?

The fish eating Goan is becoming more and more suspicious of the fish on his plate. He does not buy fish in the big markets and chooses

small markets on the roadside where safe fish is sold to the public by our ramponkars.

The people who own restaurants buy fish in bulk for tourists who eat their fish, drink their beer and go back to their state or country

unaware of the hazardous health problem. Now, this is the situation of fish in Goa, a coastal state with a fish eating culture. Is our government protecting the Goan public or the fish mafia? Ramponkars are yet to see designated places of sale of their safe

fish. Unlikely it will happen but never too early to start prying, though.

Will a similar disaster happen in the agricultural sector?

While it is a good idea to prevent the sale of farm land to non-farmers and bring contract farming for land which is not cultivated - as the farmers are not doing their job - and are no longer farmers, there is more to the story.

Farm land must not be allowed to be converted to another zone as has been done under 16B of TCP Act. The Goa government has to take a call or be seen as a collaborator in corruption.

Is the government pro-farmer or anti-farmer?

The Agriculture Minister at the time wanted to “help” some farmers to change their zoning which is not in the interest of farmers or farming

in Goa. Strange behavior for an Agriculture Minister whose job is to protect the farmers and increase farm production. Can anyone explain this to me?

We need all the farm land there is if the Goa government's ambitious goal to achieve organic self sufficiency in fruit and vegetables is to

be a reality. In fact these greedy non-performing farmers want to be rewarded for not farming!

And, no doubt, the price of the converted land will take off and start to resemble the rocket industry. The public is dumb but not this much!

As for the former Agriculture minister his compassion for non-performing farmers makes me want to cry.

All agricultural land which has been converted to non-agricultural land has to be reverted back to agricultural land. Otherwise, the

public will smell rat and there will be trouble. The government is going gung-ho to develop organic farming and their

effort is not appreciated enough. Farmers are not doing badly but need an additional side income from other sources besides farming to have a decent standard of living. Some members of the families have to contribute to the support of the farmers family if the family wants to own their land in future. Government support which goes a long way is sadly not enough.

Agri-farming is the need of the hour. Farmers should be allowed to own small houses in their fields along with small restaurants depending on the size of the farm. Organic farms, small farmers houses and restaurants in their fields is a win-win situation.

Does the Goa government have the political will to implement this policy? How much courage does this government have?

Did I hear the government say it wants to double the farmers income by 2022?

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