Hisar, 26th March 2020: Keeping in mind the rise of the pandemic Covid-9 across the nation and the 21 days lockdown by the federal government certainly going to hit the interests of many sectors including agriculture but the human safety is the utmost priority which reveals and justifies the logic of this lockdown. Harvesting of Rabi crops has been initiated and soon it will be on peak and the procurement process officially commences on April 1st in Northern states as farmers sell their cereal produce in designated mandis to the government agencies at minimum support price (MSP) Social distancing during the peak harvest and season of sowing, reaping, garning is a challenge to the marginal and small farmers who have never exercised such practices in the past. Looking into the severity of the issue, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU) has suggested harvesting related precautionary guidelines for the farmers to follow for their safety. These guidelines are suggestive in nature and the university does not claim any clinical justification of these suggestive advisories.
University has suggested the following steps to be taken in order to maintain safety during crop harvesting:
· According to the directions of the Government of India and the Government of Haryana, social distance should be maintained during harvesting. Farmers should maintain a distance of at least 5-6 feet during work, meal and drinking. After eating, wash hands thoroughly with soapy water.
· Harvesting of crops should be done with machine tools and in case of manual practice equipment should be washed in soap/detergent/sanitizer/alcohol/soap based solution.
· Do not exchange the harvesting /side bags at the time or after harvesting fruits and vegetables.
· Animal handler should not be changed frequently and the ropes/chain to control/tied the animal should be disinfected with soap solution after every use.
· Drink hot water, clean the utensils of eating food thoroughly with soap/detergent water.
· Wash the clothes used in the field work for the first time and put them in the sun and use them again only after 48 hours. Don’t wear the same clothes second day.
· Labours/farmers usually after harvesting in day time while returning home generally use common vehicles like bikes/tractors/or other vehicle. So, precautions should be taken during sitting by facing in different direction by everyone to avoid contamination.
· Don’t exchange smoking with each-other/one-another like Bidi, Cigarette, etc. Don’t sit in group for smoking like hookas.
· During harvesting in the field, all the farmers/farm workers should keep separate utensils (glass, mug, sakora, kulhad etc) for drinking water arrangements.
· Do not sit in groups during rest in rooms, huts/cottage, under tree or on fields. Always keep distance of 6 feet.
· If a farmer sees symptoms of cough, headache, body pain, cold and fever, contact the nearest civil hospital immediately.
· Keep sufficient quantity of soap/detergent and water in the field.
· Always use personalized/individual equipments and do not exchange or share them during work.
· Farmers should maintain social distancing while using machine tools such as thresher, straw-reaper and combine harvester etc. and also use masks.
· Farmers are advised not to share their sickles, tongli, khurpi and other alike equipments when harvesting wheat or mustard. If it is to be shared, it should be washed thoroughly with soap solution.
· Farmers should use masks or any cloth (ANGOCHA in neat and clean mode) during harvesting.
· Maintain proper distance while traveling in tractors or trolley from home to farms and vice versa.
· During this crisis time procurement may delay a bit Farmers should have their temporary proper storage facility individually or shared one of their food grains.
· Farmers can start harvesting from around their land of farm during harvesting so that sustainable distance remains more.
· Tie Pullies of harvested crops yourself rather than with the help of other one’s.
· Wear a full-sleeved shirt while harvesting.
· Do not do massage or push or pull mutually for headache/pain relief.
· Do not share your leftover food or beverages.
· Take regular diet for vitamin-C which includes fruits and vegetables etc. to stay fit and healthy.
· Always wash your hands and packaging devices before picking fruits and vegetables.
· Do not cough or sneeze on farm produce and use mask, angochha or arm while doing so.
· Always pack perishable items in recommended packages like hermetic bags etc.
Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University is a public funded agricultural university located at Hisar in the Indian state of Haryana. It is one of the biggest agricultural universities in Asia. The university has 8645 acres of land (around 7219 acres at the main campus, 1426 acres at outstations). It is named after India’s seventh Prime Minister, Chaudhary Charan Singh. It was initially a satellite campus of Punjab Agricultural University at Hisar. It was established as a university by Haryana and Punjab Agricultural Universities Act, ratified 2 February 1970 and was named as Haryana Agricultural University. So basically it is considered as the first established university of state Haryana. On 31 October 1991, it was renamed as Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University. The university publishes the largest number of research papers among agricultural universities in India. It won the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s Award for the Best Institute in 1997 and in 2017. It contributed significantly to Green Revolution and White Revolution in India.