Friday, November 27, 2009
GANGTOK, November 27: The State Agriculture Minister Dawcho Lepcha cited Sikkim’s ‘organic farming’ initiative during the international organic trade fair held in Mumbai from November 18 to 20.
Addressing the event held under the banner of ‘Bio Fach India 2009’, which was attended by Minister for State, Agriculture, Chairman Bio Fach, president ICCOA and delegates from different countries across the world, Mr. Lepcha said that Sikkim was putting concerted efforts towards organic farming. He said, the State, which was declared ‘Organic State’ in 2003 was presently in transition period and envisages becoming fully organic five years from now by 2015.
“Following the landmark decision, a total ban on subsidy transport and handling subsidy including commission to retail agents) in case of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides as a first small step was affected immediately to discourage farmers from resorting to such unsustainable options,” he said.
The Sikkim minister further informed that a number of organic initiatives have been launched with the noteworthy ones being setting up of a centre of excellence of organic farming, awareness programmes on the benefits of organic farming, demonstration programmes, adoption of bio-villages in pilot areas and initiation of the processes of internal control system and organic certification, etc.
“Morarka foundation and HARC are two major service providers along with local MEVEDIR facilitating the process of certification of the farms in the state and so far, a little more than 6000 ha are presently covered in the first phase,” Mr. Lepcha said adding that the target coverage to achieve was 60,000 ha or more by the end of 2015”.