NEW DELHI, Feb 15 � Calling for Central Government�s continued support, Assam Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik today highlighted the possibility of the north-eastern region becoming a hub of organic cultivation because of its organic soil.
�There is every possibility of the north-eastern region being a hub of organic cultivation by virtue of its soil being organic by default,� said the Governor while addressing a workshop on �Policy initiatives for promoting partnership between stakeholders in agriculture with particular reference to rain-fed and dryland farming� organised by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Pointing to the constraints, the Governor said the sector is not cost-effective due to high value of certification works at the initial stage and needs the Government of India�s continuous assistance for its establishment and export markets.
The earlier provision of assistance under National Project for Organic Farming discontinued during the year 2010-11 should be resumed by the Government of India in the State, he added.
The conference being
attended by Governors and Chief Ministers was addressed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Besides the Governor, Assam was also represented in the event by State Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka.
Patnaik mentioned that long-term negative impact of application of chemical fertilizers in the soil has compelled governments to rethink about the methods of bringing Green Revolution in the North-east India, he said.
Distress sale is one of the retarding factors in the process of popularising high-value mechanisation and increased production. This is due to average low size of land holding by the farmers. Over 85 per cent of the total farm families of 27.50 lakh are categorised as small and marginal who cannot afford costlier machinery for cultivation.
Stating that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy fixed for the nation is not justified for the North-east because of the cost of production is invariably higher than the MSP due to comparatively higher cost of inputs in this part of the country and ever-increasing prices of diesel.
Patnaik suggested that the MSP, after its declaration, should include the escalation of inputs prices in the region.
Disposal of paddy after harvest to FCI is a chronic problem for the farmers of the State because of its higher moisture content owing to high humidity condition in the State. It discourage the farmers to produce more and hence there should be a separate policy of fixing price for paddy and, also the procurement period should be extended by at least three months by FCI in the State.
Highlighting the problem of threat of floods, the Governor said lakhs of hectares of paddy areas as well other kharif and rabi crops are destroyed by flood and erosion pulling back the economy of the farming community.
Therefore, a long-term strategy equipped with innovative cultivation techniques are the need of the hour in the State.
He also suggested that more and more farmers may be brought under Agricultural Marketing Producers� Group (APMG) in the State.
Adaptability of a wide range of plant species in the NE region of the country is substantiated by the fact that this region is the hub of origin of more than 126 species of plants which includes rice varieties.
Addressing the workshop, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said that his State has been trying to bridge the gap between potential and actual irrigated areas through programmes such as AIBP, but much more remains to be done. Meghalaya accounts for around 75 per cent of the cultivated area, compared to 60 per cent in the country.