Showing posts with label organic mission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic mission. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chief Minister & Organic Mission of Sikkim makes its mark in Antarctica

Press Release: 

 New Delhi: 20 June:  I'm moved and written letter to Sikkim Government from Antarctica congratulating all of you for the work you are doing for the planet. I have posted it from the southernmost city of the world Ushuaia” gushed Pradeep Karuturi.
He was part of a two-week expedition to the Antarctica in March 2016 organised by International Antarctic expert and explorer Robert Swan.
Pradeep is a climate change enthusiast went to Antarctica recently on a climate change Expedition by 2041 team. “I felt great happiness in sharing that Sikkim became an organic state to the International team of 30 different nations.”
He wants to come to Sikkim to study the climate positive work that is being undertaken by the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, led Government and the people.
“Ice melting is happening very rapidly in Antarctica and I believe Climate Change is the biggest issue that we need to take action immediately.I believe Sikkim is a hope for the rest of the country that we need to use our science and technology in par with nature not against nature” he adds.
Pradeep Karuturi, graduated in 2014 and joined an MNC after which he joined social sector engaging in multiple social activities. He worked with different agencies to help out with disaster relief including traveling to Nepal after the earthquake to distribute goods.
Pradeep came in touch with MP Lok Sabha, PD Rai, at the Vision India Foundation lecture given by MP yesterday.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

StartupIndia and OrganicSikkim – the perfect Jugal Bandi for our youth

By PD Rai

In India many startups are actually happening in the Organic Agri space. Little is known of or about them. They may not have found space in Vigyan Bhawan during the inauguration of #StartupIndia. Of course, overwhelmingly the glitz of Technology led startupswere there for everyone to see. They are the now famous ones in online marketing like Flipkart or those in transportation aggregation like Ola.

Prime Minister Modi flagged off #StartupIndia in New Delhi on 16th January. This is a fantastic initiative and we all applaud it. It has the architectureof giving entrepreneurs the space to do what they do best, creating products and services from ‘ideas’ and making them work – the startup ecosystem. After making them work finally curating them to be able to monetize it before ramping it up in terms of scale.

That an idea can fail and hence needs that exit route is planned well. Self certification is a key ingredient. This will take away the ‘babu’ or small time bureaucrats who have no clue as to what entrepreneurship is all about impeding the process. They do not even want to understand it. They just want to get in the way. They add friction and costs. All counterproductive. If I am writing all this, believe me I have had the opportunity to going down this road myself. But better, I have had the opportunity to listen to thousands of young people who have had to contend with this ‘harassment’. In one sweep our Prime Minister has gotten rid of this. Thumbs up to that.

Making it easier to register and get loans is the next big thing. Creating a tidy Rs. 10,000 Cr fund for start ups is also a great initiative.

If the Ministries all ensure that there is minimum Government, then I am sure the #StartupIndia will lift off.

Now to making the main argument. Why should this be limited just to Technology led start ups. What we need to do is to connect it to Agriculture. Make AgriTech Startups cool. This is where the real fun is going to be because India’s teeming millions of young people will have to be part of the food security apparatus. This needs careful handling as there is a message in the Startup plan that only Tech Startups are in. Agro-Startups will enhance our ability to grow our food locally and build the largest food basket in the world. Such startups will have the resilience to adapt to the vagaries of weather induced by Climate Change.

Will NABARD be up to the task? Can they leverage the fundamental momentum that is being given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in solving the key issue of young people leaving their farms and going elsewhere?

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is playing host to the Agriculture Ministers of India Meet which was flagged off by Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling yesterday. Sustainability and welfare of Farmers is the thematic which all Ministers have to deliberate on and come up with some concrete suggestions for the Prime Minister, who is going to listen to the outcomes before he speaks on the occasion today.

The keynote speech was given by Dr. Ramesh Chand, Member NITI Aayog. He is a long time professional in the field of agriculture. What he said was remarkable. He aligned completely with the theme of this article. How can we make #StartupIndia available to the farming sector? Hence there is a meeting of minds here. It is not just about giving sops but now turning to making farming profitable once again with cheaper input costs.

Critically technology is available for the farms. Many young and Tech background people have found solace and their calling in buying poor and degraded land and making them into vibrant Agri businesses. There are many instances out there. Take for instance the Lumiere Organic, headed by Manjunath and headquartered in Bangalore. They started with just growing what is now known as Organic Food and Vegetables. They now have a roaring Organic Food Restaurant. Guess who are their main customers? Technology fatigued souls from Bangalore’s millions working in all the Hi Tech industries! All looking for the Organic balm.

Manjunath wants to source products from far away Sikkim.

So now what is required? Get young entrepreneurs to do just what Manjunath and many others have done. Young people need to get the space to start and if need fail. This is what entrepreneurship is all about.

Sikkim, under Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has created a State that is fully organic. Sikkim is the brand. Sikkim needs to be leveraged. Can we now marry Prime Minister Modi’s #StartupIndia with #OrganicSikkim and field a 1,000 young entrepreneurs? This is a challenge worth taking. This is a partnership worth exploring.

This perhaps is the opportunity of the decade before us. What it needs is to be able to have a quick mechanism like an incubator in Sikkim to leverage the full potential of #StartupIndia.

Welcome to Sikkim, Hon’ble Prime Minister to!

(The author is the sitting MP Lok Sabha, Sikkim and the opinion shared is personal)

Main January mein Sikkim aunga : PM Modi

Nirmal Mangar, my good journalist friend shares his anecdotes meeting with Prime Minister Modi. He was among the Sikkim Journalist Team that got an opportunity to witness the proceedings of parliament at New Delhi last year. 
Nirmal Mangar in his facebook status writes.... "It was last monsoon, I got an opportunity to meet the man of India in Parliament House, I felt pompous and happy to thank him on mentioning Sikkim's organic mission in both the parliaments ( of India and Nepal) also not to forget his Germany visit.
I still have a strong memory of him telling ' Main January mein Sikkim aunga (I will come to Sikkim on January) and will declare your state as the first in the country to adopt organic farming'
Finally, the great moment has arrived."
Truely a great moment has arrived, we all Sikkimese is awaiting this big moment when PM Modi will declare Sikkim as the fully Organic State.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sikkim awaits Modi Visit

Modi Sikkim visit schedule

The real significance of the Sikkim’s Organic Farming State Success

By PD Rai
Come Monday 18th January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially declare Sikkim as an Organic State. Any which way you look at it Sikkim has assumed leadership in Organic Agriculture. The rest of the country will have to follow suit.
Years of toiling and leadership has made this happen. The people of Sikkim, the farmers, agriculturists, bureaucrats and politicians have all played their part in this great Sikkimese narrative. All have to be congratulated.
One must commend Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for taking a look at the great potential of this venture. He has found it to be a significant public policy move that can transform the Agriculture Policy within the rest of India. Little wonder then that he has skilfully combined the launch with a meeting of all Agriculture Ministers of the Indian States to romp home this point. How are we to achieve food security but without the costly inputs of fertilizer plants created from imported oil and Naphtha.
Therefore, the significance of his Sikkim visit as well as taking Sikkim’s example as one to be emulated is not to be lost out as a moment of optics. There is real substance here and is definitely a well thought out plan.
Everyone is aware that the Himalaya gives the Indo Gangetic Plains as well as Assam eco-system services by just sending down water from the myriad rivers. It also extends much needed replenishment of fertile top soil carved out from the mountains. Climate Change may actually disrupt this entire process. The rivers are going to be seasonal as more and more warming will lead to drying up of the important glaciers and permafrost. Loss of biodiversity all across the Himalaya will prove very costly for the nation.
The entire Himalayan Ecosystem is under threat from the externality of Climate Change and global warming. We have signs of that even as our farmers are reporting that oranges are better off in higher altitudes than before. And so many such like empirical evidences that are discussed in different settings. In order to combat and delay the problems of Ecosystem services from the Himalayas the remedy will be to start with organic farming. Let the entire Himalayan belt get into farming the way it was done traditionally but with much more scientific inputs and understanding.
This will change the way we all think of farming and getting our food. Food security will once more move into the hands of farmers rather than remain in the clutches of politicians and bureaucrats.
Prime Minister will be addressing the Agriculture Ministers. His deep dive into sustainability will have the overtones of the global understanding of sustainable development. IFOAM writes on Sustainable Development Goal #2, “Organic Agriculture supports and enhances ecologically sound systems of food production that can achieve food security by increasing and stabilizing yields, improving resistance to pests and diseases, and battling poverty through reducing debt incurred by the purchase of expensive chemical inputs.”
This is global thought leadership. But who is practising it? Sikkim, a small Himalayan State of India decided to do it and show the way.
This is the kind of significant leadership that is being provided by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling. How significant is this can be fathomed by the keen interest that Sikkim’s Organic journey is being viewed all over the world.
Prime Minister Modi sees great public policy value in this. He also sees that it can be scaled up to all the other States of India. This perhaps is a fine example of Cooperative Federalism. But greater still is that the significance of Organic Agriculture is the path changing public policy initiative in Agriculture which can be compared to the Green Revolution of the Nehruvian era. The next phase of food security will be built on Sikkim’s success and Sikkim’s mantra of Clean Food, Clean Water and Clean Air. Don’t pay more for cleaning the environment. Nature’s way is the best.
Hats off to both Chamlingji and Modiji. That is true #OrganicPartnership at play.
Politically, Chamling has again shown his State craft and stands to gain in stature across all of India and the world.

(The author is the sitting MP Lok Sabha, Sikkim and the opinion shared is personal)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Opinion Piece: Sikkim Organic Mission

Please critique, don’t criticise — Sikkim Organic Mission is far too important - and yes for the future of young Sikkimese farmers

By P. D. Rai

One can look at political rhetoric in many different ways. If it leads to useful debate, imaginative thinking and good outcomes on matters of policy, they are hugely welcome. But what SKM leader PS Golay attempted in the recently concluded session of the Sikkim Assembly when he spoke on Sikkim’s Organic Mission, relied more on accusation than substantial critique. What is known as ‘optics’.

Unfortunately, Golay and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, have reduced their politics to throw-mud-and-see-what-sticks and Sikkim’s Organic Mission appears to be their chosen victim. As the opposition, they may continue to play their games of one-upmanship, but as a State, let us not sell ourselves short.

Consider what Chief Minister Pawan Chamling pointed out in his reply: this is the first time in the history of the world that a state has attempted to become fully organic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endorsement of our Organic Mission is testimony to the Mission’s success so far. As he said in Germany — home to the biggest Trade Fair on organic produce — “now the doors for global trade have been opened for the State.”

Have we become perfect? No. But the Organic Mission has set Sikkim on a journey that will shape the future of our economy and livelihoods of many young Sikkimese along the entire value chain. It is also an investment in the health and well-being of our children and our elderly. It provides for better quality of life whilst lowering healthcare costs.

We can already see changes in our ecological balance. Bumblebees are back. Flowering and productivity of our Cardamom has gone up significantly. The mad scramble for seedlings of Cardamom is an indication of the health of the ecology besides fetching good prices.

Our targets for the implementation of Sikkim Organic Mission are aggressive — something the departments are perhaps not used to — yet, we will meet them.

Golay cited examples of irregularities in the certification process. The Department of Agriculture must take note and ensure more stringent monitoring going forward. But let us not jump the gun and say the Agriculture and Horticulture department’s intentions are mala fide! This is the classic cutting your nose to spite your face.

It is foolish to assume all land would be Organic and certified from day one. Certification is an ongoing process. Soil-testing labs have already been established in each district. And Certification of land under organic cultivation is being regulated by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry — through APEDA accredited certification agencies, who in turn use service providers such as NGOs who implement National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) regulations. This is needed for differentiation in a market where robust standards rule.

It is one thing to critique policy, and another to use its garb to allege that the policy was made for corrupt purposes. The latter, we must wholly reject. When you critique something, you evaluate it thoroughly. When you criticise, you hold an opinion for just creating confusion in the minds of people.

As the Chief Minister reminded us all in his speech, “farming is a dignified occupation.” There has never been better time to empower our young farmers with the right knowledge, incentives and support to lead an Organic farming revolution that will become a model for the rest of the world to follow. It is naive to expect that a mission of such ambition won’t face challenges. Yes, there are teething problems, and that is why all of us must work together to find solutions. At the Centre, there is renewed thrust in promoting organic produce and we cannot afford to lose all the hard-work we’ve done so far to political pettiness. Unsurprisingly this position will hurt the future interests of our youth, farmers and Sikkim.

To borrow a quote from former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, whose death was condoled in the assembly by all members during the same session: “Let us move on with the spirit of I can do it, we can do it, and the nation can do it.”

(P. D. Rai is the SDF Party’s Spokesperson and­ sitting Lok Sabha MP)