In the wake of shortage of vegetables in Sikkim, measures are being taken to promote organic farming post ban on sale and consumption of non-organic agricultural and horticultural items in the state from April one, an official said.
"The vegetables' shortage due to inadequate cultivation in Sikkim is a short-term problem as steps have been taken to boost organic farming after the ban on sale and consumption of non-organic agricultural and horticultural commodities," Sikkim State Co-operative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd, (SIMFED) Managing Director Pawan Awasthi said yesterday.
Sikkim has cultivable land at about 80,000 hectares of which only 15,000 are being used for organic farming, he said, adding that the state government proposed to encourage farmers and big landowners to put their unused land for farming in order to increase cultivation of various organic food items not only for domestic consumption, but also for export.
The SIMFED MD said that the farmers would be advised to carry out multi-crop farming of organic produces for which required assistance under MNREGA or other schemes would be made available to them.
If all these measures are put in place, then the shortage of agricultural and horticultural commodities in Sikkim will be a thing of the past latest by next year, Awasthi said.
Meanwhile, the SIMFED, a state government undertaking, has decided to procure 28 organic agricultural and horticultural commodities, mainly vegetables, directly from the farmers at a fixed procurement rate to combat shortage of these commodities and control its prices.
"We have started procuring organic vegetables and allied produces direct from the farmers and the same will be sold to the consumers through wholesale dealers and retailers in the market," the SIMFED MD said.
The Sikkim government had banned sale and consumption of 27 agricultural and horticultural commodities in the state, but later relaxed supply of carrot, tomato and green chilly from outside in view of acute shortage.
The opposition parties have slammed the Pawan Kumar Chamling government for banning non-organic food items in Sikkim without adequate preparation and demanded rollback.
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