Attended the function on National Milk Day, 2017 on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien, who is regarded as the ‘Father of White Revolution’ in India. At the outset, I spelt out the aims and objectives of cooperative societies, which is primarily an association formed for the welfare of the people and the society in general, instead of being a mere profit-making body. Targeting the farmers and the rural people present, I suggested for forming of the following Co-operatives:
1. Producers’ Cooperative Society which should focus on agriculture, dairy farming, poultry, piggery, floriculture, fisheries (trout farming in higher altitudes) etc, for which loans can be availed under Chief Minister’s Startup Scheme or any other forms of funding through the State Government. All such productions must be organic.
2. Workers’ Co-operative Society.
3. Kisan (Farmers) Co-operative Society: For carrying out not only farming but also for involving educated youths in the field of marketing, packaging and value addition. Innovative ideas should be the call of the day instead of carrying out traditional techniques of agriculture.
4. Consumers’ Co-operative Society: Aim should be for ensuring fair price for both the buyer and the consumer. We have established Multipurpose Cooperative Societies in every GPU but it is unfortunate that the objective of price control has not been achieved completely.
5. Artisans’ Co-operative Society: For packaging our organic products, materials like bamboo can be used for making baskets, containers, etc, which in turn will be organic.
Speaking on the dearth of cows in Sikkim, I urged the farmers not to sell their calfs outside the State. In case of availability of any calf, the Government will willingly buy them so that we can distribute atleast a cow each to every household interested in cow rearing and dairy farming. Similarly, indigenous cows which are almost on the verge of extinction must not be imported from the State. Effort should also be made to increase the population of domestic animals like cattle for commensurate increase in milk production and manure.
As a fully organic State, it is also imperative that the milk produced in Sikkim should also be organic. This can only be achieved if we are able to make the fodder and feed of the cattle also organic. Therefore, I urged the gathering to work towards production of organic fodder and feed, and refrain from feeding inorganic products available in the market to their cattle.
I reiterated the Government’s decision of putting an embargo on import of vegetables from outside the State from 31st March, 2018. Hence, all farmers should take this as an opportunity to increase production and achieve self-sufficiency in vegetables. I appealed to them to come forward without any reservations in view of the large and ready market available for organic produce.
I also informed about dove-tailing of MGNREGA with agricultural activity under which plantation of fruit bearing trees and fodder crops especially in fallow lands of villagers would be carried out. In this way, farmers would reap the dual benefits of crops as well as wages that are paid under the Scheme.