Minister Shyamkumar bats for organic farming

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Two days Buyer and Seller Meet Cum Workshop for Agriculture and Horticulture Products with Special Focus on Organic Products of Manipur began on Monday at the City Convention Centre, Palace Compound in Imphal. The event is being organised by the Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Government of Manipur. The event is sponsored by the Agricultural and Processed Food Product Export Development Authority and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

MOMA has been implementing the scheme Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Region (MOVCDNER) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare since 2015-16 in the state. The scheme aims at promotion and production of certified organic commodities focusing on export oriented crops viz. Tamenglong Orange, Kachai Lemon, Pineapple, King Chili (U-morok), Ginger, Turmeric and Chakhao (Black Aromatic Rice) covering a total area of 5,000 Hectares with 5,000 farmers.

Speaking as the Chief Guest of the function, Shri Th. Shyamkumar, Minister of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Forest and Environment and MAHUD, Manipur, said that, the presence of the dignitaries and officials at the function reflects keen interest and strong political will of the Government of India to make organic farming one of the major drivers of economic and social development. Manipur has bountiful natural resources and human capital. The main occupation of the people is agriculture and horticulture which is dominated by small holdings characterised by low produce and low farm income. The farmers of Manipur are in a unique position to transform its constraints to their advantage by practicing organic farming. The farmers of the State use negligible amounts of fertilizers and pesticides in their farm which makes them suitable for quick conversion to Organic Farming, the Minister added. He further said that, by practicing Organic Farming, farmers can improve farm productivity by using natural resources of their own farms and also increase their farm income by accessing new markets while sustaining the farm and the environment of the State. Increasing the income of the farmers is of paramount importance for livelihood, food security and inclusive growth of the State and at the same time making food safe, healthy and nutritious.

Minister Shyamkumar said that, he is optimistic that the increasing demand for high-value organic products of the State will create market, providing necessary impetus and opportunity for the farmers to generate economic growth and gainful employment. He hoped that the Buyer Seller Meet will lead to fruitful interaction among all the participants and create an enabling environment for marketing organic products of Manipur in and outside the State. Minister Shyamkumar said that, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has conveyed to the farmers of the country that the income of the farmers will be doubled by 2022. He also expressed his belief that, the MOVCDNER scheme will play an instrumental in realising the commitment for the farmers of Manipur.

Chief Secretary of Manipur, Shri O. Nabakishore Singh, speaking at the inaugural function as the President, highlighted the benefits of Chakhao (Black Aromatic Rice) and called upon the farmers of the state to increase the yield of the Chakhao to meet the demand-supply ratio. The farmers of the State need not fear as their products will be bought by the State which will subsequently increase the income of the farmers. Nabakishore further said that, he will personally become an entrepreneur to sell the Chakhao, which is known as the “Super Food” in USA. He added that, proper packaging, proper labeling and proper marketing are needed to export the products. Chief Secretary appealed to all the farmers to sincerely cultivate their food crops and also to officers/agents to help the farmers get the benefits of Government schemes/programmes.

The main objective of organising the Buyer Seller Meet is to provide platform for all the stake-holders viz. farmers, aggregations, entrepreneurs, food processors, exporters and financial institutes to associate and network with each other to create long term linkage for realising the fruits of the value chain. To showcase quality products of Manipur especially organic products to different stakeholders involved in value chain processing and marketing and to enable the farmers to participate in all the steps of organic vale chain. The Meet will also identify constrains of the products, processors and other stakeholders in successful marketing of products of Manipur, to encourage and promote local entrepreneurs for setting up for processing and packaging units and connect genuine local entrepreneurs to potential investors for value chain processing and marketing. It will provide opportunity and inform about the current market and recent developments in organic farming. The event will provide opportunity to meet and interact with new partners, learn from each other and create new connections and facilitate market opening of organic products in the State and promote brand “Organic Manipur” for National and Export market.

Dr. M. Premjit Singh, Vice Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal; Smt. I. Rani Kumudini, IAS, Joint Secretary, INM Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India; Dr. N. Prakash, Joint Director, ICAR, Manipur Centre; AK Yadav, Advisor, National Accreditation Board, APEDA were Guest of Honour of the function. Special invitees Marcina Epao, Director DoNER, Government of India; Pankaj Prasad, Managing Director, NERAMAC; Professor Joykumar Laishram, Dean, College of Agriculture, CAU, Director of Horticulture & Soil Conservation and Agriculture, farmers, exporters, experts from different parts of the country attended the inaugural day of the function.

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