I attended the Sikkim Organic Day-cum-‘Krishi Unnati Mela’, organized by the Food Security & Agriculture Development Department, Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department and ICAR- National Organic Farming Research Institute today at Manan Kendra.
I also visited various stalls of Agriculture and Horticulture Departments, Spices Board, ICAR, SIMFED, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Self Help Groups, Farmers Producers Organisation etc where organic products of the State were exhibited.
Today, as we step into the 4th year of Sikkim being a fully organic state, it is for everyone for us to remember how we could achieve the organic mission. Converting the entire agricultural land of Sikkim into organic land was not an easy task. We had to overcome several obstacles in the form of stiff resistance from various fronts including the State Government machinery, the farming community and the opposition parties. Nor did we have any model or format to replicate. But with sheer determination and relentless efforts, we could transform Sikkim into the first fully organic state in the world after a journey of 12 years (2003 to 2015).Today, our policy is admired by all across the country and the world. We are looked up as pioneers in this field. In fact, I am happy to share with you that I was invited for a very important meeting at Berlin, being held today. As I couldn’t attend the meeting due to my preoccupations, a message sent by me is being read out during the function.
I my address, I congratulated the people of Sikkim. particularly the farming community for accepting and working in line with the Government’s policy decision. I also expressed my gratitude to all the Chief Secretaries, Secretaries, officers and staff of Agriculture and Horticulture departments, other Government officials, the business community the press and media and all the opposition leaders/parties for their contribution towards the organic mission.
Organic farming is very popular not only because of its health benefits, but also as a form of environment-friendly agriculture. It is an ideal way to conserve and protect the Earth and the entire Creation itself. We can call it a life-saving and non-violent form of agriculture. When chemical fertilizers are not used in farming, it not only benefits the environment, human health but also improves soil fertility.
Agriculture is the biggest industry in the world and people engaged in this sector will never be out of work. Nor will it ever become outdated, since human beings need food to survive. Likewise, organic farming is a super industry which saves the lives of every species on earth. This message must be reached out to every nook and corner of the State. The organic brand has created numerous opportunities for everyone, especially for our educated youths. Now it is up to them to explore and reap the benefits from this golden opportunity in the field of production, branding, packaging and marketing of our valuable organic produce.
To give continuity to the status of being fully organic state, I suggested the following to be taken up by the departmental officials as well as the farming community:-
– Farmers should work towards certifying their lands with the help of Agriculture and Horticulture departments.
– The ban on the use of chemical fertilizers should be implemented in letter and spirit with stringent action against defaulters.
– Efforts should be made by farmers to increase production and cater to alteast local demands. No land should be kept barren or fallow. Alternatives like terrace gardens and vertical gardens should be explored.
– Works related to marketing and packaging of organic produce should be taken up by our people, especially the youth.
– Production of organic manure and organic seeds/seedlings for which the Government is ready to provide all support and assistance.
– Refrain from burning agricultural wastes.
– Production of bio-fertilizers and pesticides.
– Crops with high value and low volume to be grown.
– Producers associations and growers co-operatives to be formed.
– Quality of organic produce to be maintained.
– Organic demonstration farms must be constructed in all districts.
– Organic Farming In-charge to be appointed in all GPUs.
– Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry to recommend beneficiaries to avail loans from Cooperative Apex Banks.
– Work towards branding of poultry, dairy and meat as organic.
I appealed to the MLAs, Panchayats, Councilors, Secretaries and officers to implement the policies/programmes of the State Government in letter and spirit in public interest.
I made the following announcements for the launch of two missions:-
1. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency in food grains within 5 years.
2. Uncultivated and unproductive forest lands to be converted into agro-forests within 5 years.