By Nitesh R Pradhan

Agriculture may be a Herculean task, but it’s one of the most sustainable professions. With the ongoing organic mission in the state of Sikkim, farmers and officials work in close tandem with each other in the field. Awareness and training programs are frequently held by the concerned departments for the farmers and the stakeholders.

Likewise, a day long training program on usages of off farm organic inputs(Biofertilizers and Bio pesticides was held at Block Administrative Centre, Duga on 11 May.

The program was organised by Budang Kameray Organic Farmer’s Producer’s Cooperative.

Bina Rai, Additional Director, agriculture department, guided the farmers on various bio products useful in agriculture without causing damage to the environment.She informed that Duga-Budang and surroundings have a unique advantage of sustaining agriculture the year round.Further she asked the farmers to continue with their interest in agriculture and avail the benefits offered by the government.

Members of Farmer’s Producer’s Organisation (FPO) called for more awareness and appealed to all the farmers to contact for any assistance in production and marketing.

These cooperatives have been registered under the state government and have been helping farmers and farming communities in Sikkim with knowledge and help.

An active group of local farmers participated in interaction with officials on methods and other expert knowledge on many aspects if farming and its sustainability.

Many also raised caution on insects, pests and animals eating away a large portion of their produce.”An overall mechanism for proper mitigation of this issue has been felt for long,” says an official, T Gurung.

CL Sharma, BDO, Duga, assured all the cooperation from the BAC in the field of agriculture.He further added that the BAC would continue to deliver service to the people with the support of all nodal departments for a sustainable village or block.

Many stakeholders have suggested producing bio fertilizers and pesticides in Sikkim which will suit the climatic conditions of the Himalayan state.

Such programs are supported by State Organic Mission which comes under the state government’s initiative.

Similarly, a review meet of Block Farmer’s Advisory committee was also held at Bhurung village, East Sikkim.The meet had the presence of officials from Agriculture department and farmers from the village and Duga BAC.

Darshan Upreti, Block Technology Manager, Duga BAC counselled the farmers on various aspects of farming.”With adoption of Integrated Farming System with capacity building, Sikkim has a bright future in agriculture and horticulture,” he stated.

Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA), Government of Sikkim which provides information and helps farmers in their occupation also aims to double income of farmers by 2022.

Khem Kumar Chettri, Advisor, BFAC held that sharing knowledge about the technical advancement and forms of farming is key for any sustained efforts to improve agriculture.He thanked the department for providing him with the knowledge which has helped him become a self sustained individual.

The farmers interacted with the officials and shared their problems.

Many have felt the need to recognise the field of farming and agriculture as a valued job option as imperative to making this a highly rated profession.

It was further informed that FPO helps locally grown products with their production and in marketing as the FPOs are established across Sikkim under the cooperative department with seven in East district alone.

These FPOs also advise stakeholders on agro based industries and packaging.

Programs related to agriculture and its development are held on a regular basis by the department with all stakeholders to help farmers directly and simultaneously make agriculture more sustainable and eco friendly.

With such active team from the department along with interested farmers and stakeholders, this agricultural belt with a climatic advantage can show the way forward for many aspiring farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs.

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