The Nagaland horticulture directorate has designed a standard operating procedure (SOP) for farmers engaged in the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, spices, flowers and plantation crops to reduce the risk of spreading COVID19.

The SOP has been prepared to protect the farmers during farming operations in various horticultural fields.

The SOP said the farmers, including their family members, should follow the guidelines on COVID19 issued by the Centre and state government, including the guidelines issued by the district administrations.

A minimum number of farmers should be engaged depending on the operations to be carried out in the field.

The farmers should stay at home if one feels sick.

If they develop symptoms at work, they should inform or they should be taken to the nearest hospital/health department officials.

The farmers, who travelled to impacted areas, other states or other countries in recent days, should be asked to self-quarantine as per the guidelines issued by the state health department.

They should not bring labourers from another place or village but take the services of those available within their jurisdiction.

The farmers or their dependents, who are in quarantine/isolation, should not be engaged in any field operation activity.

The SOP said the use of the face-mask will be compulsory.

It said the farmers should avoid shaking hands and other physical contacts with other co-workers in the field.

The activities which are usually carried out in clusters must be restricted and carried out in a phased manner to avoid crowding.

The farmers should maintain personal hygiene and restrain from social gathering after work.

Staggering lunch/tea breaks should be adopted, the SOP said.

There must be adequate washing points from entry to departure, toilets, temporary shelter for lunch, input/equipment rooms and hand-washing procedures must be displayed near washing points.

The farmers should know the importance of washing hands well before lunch/tea break, after using the toilet, before putting on gloves or after contact with farm animals etc

As per the SOP, the farmers should do disinfectant spraying at regular intervals around the farm buildings, storeroom to ensure hygiene and sanitation. It recommended formaldehyde @5% for the same.

It added that adequate personal safety measures to be taken for loading/unloading and transportation of produces to the collection centres or market places.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com