Canadian soup to satiate Mautam hunger

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Aizawl, Aug 1 (UNI) Huge consignment of vegetable mix soup manufactured by Canada-based Frasers Valley Gleaners have arrived to satiate Mautam (bamboo flowering) famine-affected people in southern Mizoram.

While the first consignment reached implementing agency Mizoram Baptist Church on July 29, the second one reached another implementing agency central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) yesterday, a source told UNI here today.

The 160 quintals of the dehydrated soup were shipped to Kolkata Port all the way from Canada from which they reached the destination in trucks.

The philanthropic organisation had initially intended to aid the famine-affected people through government agency, but the latter handed over the task to the church and the NGO. These two agencies will shortly disburse the food to the needy.

'Mautam', a phenomenon of cyclic bamboo flowering every 48 years, took place in Mizoram during the last two year which further resulted in a boom in rodent population. The rodents then attacked crops until there was nothing left to harvest.

Mautam has affected 1,41,825 agrarian families in the state and as per the government's estimate destroyed Rs 67,201.98 lakh worth of crops during 2006-2008.

Agriculture Minister H Rammawi had stated that while the paddy harvest in 2005 was 7,36,253 quintals, it had gone down to 1,96,535 quintals in 2006 and the harvest in 2007 was a mere 84,997 quintals.

The state government spent Rs 29.65 lakh for purchasing rodent tails which failed to effectively mitigate the destruction caused by the periodic 'Mautam' famine-related rodents.

There are around 20 different bamboo species in the state which covers around 6,446 sq.km (about 31 per cent of the state's total area).

Contrary to elders' prediction that all the rats would die during the first three months of 2008, armies of rodents continue to ravage croplands in the villages.

Reports were pouring in from different parts of the state that rats were devastating maize in jhum cultivation areas.

State agriculture department officials who visited jhum areas in the middle of this month said that rats destroyed large percent of maize cultivation.

UNI ZS PL ATI HT1852

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