Dr Heptulla bats for increasing organic food yield
IMPHAL, 12th Oct: Farmers of the state and other north-eastern states who were part of the Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim organised by Sajik Battalion as a part of Assam Rifles Civic Action Programme 2019-20 returned to the state on Saturday.
They were flagged in by Governor Dr Najma Heptulla at Raj Bhavan.
Speaking as chief guest of the ceremony, Dr Heptulla expressed pleasure that the Assam Rifles facilitated the team of farmers from Manipur to visit Sikkim for the exposure trip.
Acknowledging that the team received knowledge on all aspects of organic farming - starting from production to packaging and marketing as Sikkim is a fully organic state in the country, the Governor noted that despite their busy schedule to contain the insurgency problems at ‘that sensitive location’, the 4th Battalion Assam Rifles has been relentlessly making efforts to further their Civic Action Programme in the NE States.
She expressed her confidence that people from different walks of life will certainly welcome this gesture and benefit immensely from the civic action programme of the Security Forces. The vision of this particular programme is mainly to create self-sustaining agro-economics and self-sufficient societies in the rural areas of the North Eastern States by tapping the enormous potential of Organic Farming available without damaging the unique flora and fauna of the region thereby, minimising the recruitment ground for insurgents, she added.
The Governor stated that the tour programme of the NE farmers has had a well-defined objective on some very relevant contemporary issues. The training module consisted of a whole spectrum of activities to achieve successful organic farming for general development. It is aimed at obliterating the breeding ground for insurgency by providing an alternate source of income. Involving the farmers in the lucrative business of organic farming would wean them away from insurgency. Further, the Organic Farming Tour has been in consonance with the Central Government Act East Policy by assisting development in the North East, ensure maximum yield from the available arable land, preserve and regional flora and fauna and improve human health and strengthen rural economics. She also said that she is pleasantly surprised and encouraged to know that during the tour altogether fifty farmers from six North Eastern States - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura participated including nineteen were female farmers.
Dr Heptulla further stated that Organic farming is catching on everywhere in the world and our country is no exception. People have seen the harmful effect of chemicals and fertilizers on our body. They are turning more and more towards organic foods for a healthy life. The farmers who take up organic farming can earn a decent living as the demand for such products is growing exponentially. Organic farming also has a positive impact on the environment. Excessive use of fertilizers and chemicals disturb the ecological balance in the long run. There is large scale degradation of soil which leads to making the land barren. The NE region is in the first ten bio-diversity hotspots in the world and one way of saving the rich treasure for posterity is to take to organic farming.
The Governor lauded the Assam Rifles for the role taken up by them for promotion of organic farming while helping the farmers and overcoming the challenges faced by the Team during the long journey is commendable. “Further, we cannot overlook the vital role played by the Team to strengthen better ties among the North-Eastern States,” she said and expressed confidence that all the farmers who participated in the tour would have gained lot of experience and expertise for organic farming.
Dr Heptulla also called upon the farmers to put into proper use whatever they have gained in terms of knowledge and experience during their recent trip.
According to a PRO IGAR (S) release, the flagging in ceremony was also attended by IGAR (S) Maj Gen K P Singh, 28 Sector AR commander Brig Neelesh Bhanot, Namrata Bhanot and Sajik Battalion commandant Col Ankush Markan.
The tour was the first of its kind and comprised 50 farmers, including 19 females Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura.
The training was coordinated by State Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute (SAMETI), Sikkim and included lectures on Sikkim Organic Mission and Mission Organic Value Chain Development, Pest and Disease Management in Organic Farming System, Preparation of Fertilizers, Bio Composts & Herbal Medicines.
The tour team carried out extensive field visits to Organic Farms at ICAR- NOFRI, ATMA Farm Schools and Farmers Field at Duga Kameray, Pakyong and Orchid Farm at Rumtek apart from meeting important personalities of Sikkim.