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Modi bats for organic farming

By The Assam Tribune

GANGTOK, Jan 18 - Citing the successful example of Sikkim, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today batted for expansion of organic farming across the country as part of efforts to transform the agriculture sector entailing better remuneration for the farmers.

Addressing a conference of Agriculture Ministers of States here, he also pitched for creating farming-oriented mobile phone apps, online mandis and value addition to farming while talking about the benefits of the recently-announced Crop Insurance Scheme and Soil Health Card.

As a means of financial security to farmers who suffer due to vagaries of weather, Modi suggested that they should divide their farming activities into three equal parts � regular farming involving crop production, growing of trees for economically-valuable timber and animal husbandary.

He said timber and animal husbandary products could act as fallback options in case the crop fails and the farmer would not face the situation of �helplessness�.

To address the problem of fruit wastage, he said he had asked the companies producing aerated drinks to mix five per cent of fruit juice in these products so that the farmers don�t suffer financial losses.

�If we see farmers, agriculture and villages in pieces, then the country will not benefit. We have to see agriculture in a holistic manner,� the Prime Minister said, adding he had come here with Agriculture Ministers of all the States to discuss how to transform India�s agriculture.

Referring to the host State, he said Sikkim is scaling new heights of development while keeping environment protected.

In this context, he referred to the organic farming which is a success story in Sikkim and appealed to other States: �Select a district or a block or Taluka, comprising about 100-150 villages, strategically (for organic farming) and try it...

�If the experiment succeeds, farmers in other places will follow it on their own. Farmers may not be influenced by any amount of lectures by scientists...For them, seeing is believing.� Asking the States to decide in which direction to proceed, Modi suggested that they should not discouraged by opposition.

�When the idea of organic farming would have been shared over a decade ago (in Sikkim) I am sure people would have opposed this. But farmers in Sikkim did not give up...For over a decade, they stuck to this. It is not a small thing. Sikkim has shown the way and what we are seeing today is the result of tremendous hardwork and belief in an idea,� he said.

He expressed confidence that the winds of organic farming will spread all over the country.

�It is for the first time that the Agriculture Ministers are sitting for two days to deliberate on the issues concerning farming and looking for short-term, long-term solutions, using technological advances,� he said, adding the outcomes of the conference would reflect in the budgets and roadmap of the States� agriculture development and the Centre�s vision. � PTI

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