Sikkim puts renewed thrust to promote organic farming

Sikkim, Feb 07 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced Sikkim as first Organic State of India. The demand for Sikkim’s organic produce has soared and farmers in the state are already earning more than what they used to earn earlier. In 2003, the Sikkim government decided to shun chemical pesticides and fertilizers and return to natural methods of farming. Farmers are happy, youngsters are becoming entrepreneurs, tourists are flocking and business is flowing in from all over the country to Sikkim. Giving a special emphasis on organic farming, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced two important schemes in the Union Budget 2016-17. First, the ‘Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ which will bring 5 lakh acres under organic farming over a three-year period. Second, the Government has launched a value chain based organic farming scheme called “Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region. The emphasis is on value addition so that organic produce grown in these parts find domestic and export markets. A total provision of Rs 412 crore has been made for these schemes. Organic produce has a huge demand which can fetch good revenue for the farmers. As part of the government’s plan to push organic farming, ‘Sikkim Organic Market’ was started as a dedicated area to promote sale and purchase of organic food. Organic farming aims to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility. Its impact on natural resources is crucial for both agricultural production and nature conservation.