Gorkhatimes

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Sikkim cries for organic subsidy

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 27, 2009

Gangtok, Oct. 26(Telegraph): The Sikkim government, farmers and other stakeholders of agriculture in the state came together today to urge the Centre to bring organic fertilisers also under its newly proposed direct subsidy system.

Sikkim has adopted an agriculture policy that will see the state go completely organic by 2015. The government has put in place a plan to phase out the use of chemical fertilisers by 2011.

Under the proposed system, the Union government will fix subsidy for each nutrient. Accordingly, the subsidy for a fertiliser will depend on the amount of nutrients in the product. In due course, the subsidy will be transferred to farmers’ account directly as and when they purchase chemical fertilisers by swiping special credit cards provided under the scheme.

“We welcome the central government’s move to give fertiliser subsidy directly to the farmers. But we are concerned that the farmers of Sikkim will not be benefited by the new scheme as it only covers chemical fertilisers. We demand that the subsidy support be extended to the organic fertilisers as well,” Dawcho Lepcha, the state minister for food security and agriculture, said at a public consultation on fertiliser subsidy reforms organised by the Greenpeace India.

The consultation was inaugurated by S.K. Gautam, the state agriculture secretary.

Dhakal, a farmer from Central Pendam, said: “The government should explore various options to support the production of organic fertilisers. Vermicomposting is one of the potential approaches.”

Gopikrishna S.R, the Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace India, said farmers who adopted eco-friendly agricultural practices had always been denied the benefits of the Centre’s subsidy.

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