Chatra: Farmers in one of the worst Maoist-affected districts in Jharkhand, were once forced to cultivate poppy by the rebels to fund their operations in the region, but now with the decline of Maoist activity, the situation in the area is taking a turn for the better. Farmers are now engaged in growing vegetables.
"We have become aware that cultivating opium is not only harmful for us, but for the country as well. Now, a majority of farmers have stopped cultivating opium and shifted to growing vegetables," said Vipin Singh, a farmer.
The efforts of the state government and the agriculture department to encourage people to take up vegetable production have been very successful.
The vegetables grown in Jharkhand not only fulfill the requirements of the state, but are also exported to countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.
"We grow tomatoes and make good money. We supply our produce to states like Kolkata and Bihar, and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal," said Bheam Yadav, another farmer.
The cultivation of vegetables is a big blow for the Maoists who used to make money from the growth and sale of opium.
The youth are also engaged in vegetable cultivation and are making good profit.