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Need to take up organic farming on mission mode: Sikkim MP

Seeks support from Centre

SHILLONG: After the declaration of Sikkim as the first organic state of India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sikkim MP Prem Das Rai has suggested that there is a need to take organic farming in mission mode.
Speaking at the 65th NEC plenary session here on Thursday, he said that the North East region can be the organic food producers for not only India but the rest of the world.
“The region has this unique opportunity to leapfrog economically which will help people get better livelihoods and value for their produce”, Rai said.
According to Rai, an adequate budget has to be provided in the NEC for carrying out the mission of organic farming.
Rai further added that Sikkim did not receive any budgetary support from the Centre for its efforts in the last 12 years.
“Sikkim has done this on its own,” he said.
Rai, however, said that this year Sikkim has received its first grant of Rs 42 crore while pointing out that a quick survey can be done to ascertain which states are ready for this exercise besides looking at the marketing potential.
Stating that the process requires a huge exercise in changing the mindsets of farmers who are now solely relying on inorganic fertilizers, Rai added that they need to be educated on the benefits, especially that of health so that they take to organic farming.
“Farmers need to be trained to make manure locally and to put adequate amounts in the soil to keep the productivity of produce at about the same level. Hence capacity building and skill training will be a huge component,” he said.
Rai also said that marketing is highly technical and requires a huge effort.
“The exercise needs to be taken up right away,” he said.
It may be mentioned that Sikkim started organic farming in the year 2003 and despite many hurdles, challenges and opposition, the state persisted to complete the exercise in 2015.

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