Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sikkim for organic farming


Statesman News Service
GANGTOK, May 18: Sikkim had an opportunity to highlight the achievements made in the agriculture and horticulture sectors through Mr Somnath Poudyal, state agriculture minister at the 78th Annual General Meeting of the ICAR Society in New Delhi recently.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Poudyal emphasised on the need for horticulture-centric research in Sikkim with stress on evolving location specific technologies that are coherent with the social and cultural ethos of the locality.
Calling attention on the continuous decline of mandarin orange, large cardamom and productivity problems associated with ginger, Mr Poudyal urged for immediate measures to revive these crops in the interest of all farming community.
Important issues rose pertaining to development of cymbidium orchids need for standardisation of production protocol, control of pests and diseases, strengthening of the exiting ICAR centre at Tadong and so on.
Calling for research support in organic farming, the minister mentioned that the endeavour of the Sikkim government to become an organic state is a paradigm shift in policy. “The prime consideration for such a shift is environmental security, ecological sustainability, product brand leading to better farm returns and inheritance of a highly developed mountain agriculture system handed down through generations,” he said. The minister also requested the ICAR to explore the possibility of value addition and product diversification to a large number of indigenous herbs and shrubs found growing wildly and abundantly in Sikkim traditionally consumed as vegetables, sometimes as delicacies.
It was learnt that the Union agriculture minister Mr Sharad Pawar has conveyed his desire to visit Sikkim sometime in the month of June in connection with the foundation stone laying ceremony of the College of Engineering and Post Harvest Technology.