The Union Agriculture Ministry on April 16 2020 laid down the standard operating procedure (SOP) to guide farmers on safety precautions that need to be strictly followed during planting of kharif crops amid the threat of Covid-19 pandemic.
What are kharif crops?
Kharif crops or the monsoon crops are domesticated plants like rice that are cultivated and harvested during the Indian subcontinent's monsoon season, which lasts from June to November. The crops are generally harvested in September to October, depending upon the region and the crops. Rice, maize and cotton are some of the major kharif crops in India.
The SOPs include:
·Farm workers should wash their hands, legs and face with soap when coming out of the field for meal or rest.
·For preparing land for sowing of kharif crops, farmers should minimise labour and use tractor driven machineries.
·Farmers should use seed-cum-fertiliser drills and reduce the number of workers in the field.
·Social distancing and sanitisation norms should be followed during field preparation, sowing and fertiliser application.
·All farm equipment from seed drill, plough to tractor should be sanitised before use. Those working in the farm field should wear masks or cover their face.
·For harvesting of rabi crops, the ministry said farmers should prefer mechanised harvesting and threshing.