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Centre urges NE farmers to engage in organic farming

SHILLONG: Union minister Parshottam Rupala on Wednesday urged farmers of the North East to replicate the Sikkim model and engage in organic farming, assuring the region of “all possible support” in this regard.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said that the Centre has made efforts to encourage farmers of the region to take up organic farming practices.
“Organic farming will help increase the income of the farmers, make agriculture more innovative besides boosting the overall production of the country,” Rupala said.
Addressing the gathering at the Sankalp Se Siddhi programme, organised by ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region at Umiam, the minister emphasised the need to equip farmers with improved farm technologies, high yielding scientifically-produced seeds, organic fertilizers and irrigation facilities to augment their income.
The minister cited the instance of Sikkim where farmers have been able to increase their income after adopting organic farming. He also lauded the efforts of Sikkim, which has declared itself as an organic state.
“The north-eastern region, including Meghalaya, has tremendous scope in organic farming, and I, on behalf of Government of India, assure you that all possible support will be provided in this regard”.
He also said good quality fruit such as orange and pineapple along with horticulture crops such as flowers can be produced in the region while the surplus could be marketed with effective supply chain management.
Rupala expressed satisfaction over the efforts of ICAR which is aiming at doubling the farmers’ income within the next five years in its adopted villages.  He said exploitation of technologies developed by the ICAR institutes, state/central agricultural universities in the region would not only boost productivity but also increase overall production of the country.
The minister also handed over a power tiller to farmers of an SHG.
Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain, who also attended the programme, said it was the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring about a second green revolution in the North East through organic farming.
The minister, however, admitted that poor transportation and communication facilities in the region hampered development of the region in general and the agriculture sector in particular.
He said the central government has always tried to address the issue and that his ministry had already fixed the target to connect all state capitals to Delhi through rail.
“Railway communication will not only help in improving inter-state links but will also help the farming community to export their commodities to different parts of the country and increase their income,” he added.
 The ministers and the people present in the programme also took the New India Pledge to work cohesively for strengthening the region in general and the farming community in particular.

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