Rangpo, Dec 22: (IPR) Chief Minister Shri. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) laid the foundation stone of two Integrated Processing Units of Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited today in Rangpo East Sikkim, in the august presence of Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar.
The foundation stone laying ceremony had the special presence of Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Shri. L.B. Das, Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, Government of Sikkim, Shri Lok Nath Sharma, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, MD, IFFCO, Dr. U.S. Awasthi among host of other dignitaries from the Government of India and the State Government, and farmers and stakeholders from throughout the State.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang said that the Joint Venture between Government of Sikkim and IFFCO Organics Limited has been envisaged to ensure that the farmers of Sikkim will get the rightful market for their produce, both nationally and internationally. He added that Sikkim is the first State of India to go 100% organic, committing itself to attain sustainable agriculture and to promote the Green Himalayan Economy. Thus, in order to protect the status of all the organic produce of the State, the integrated processing units will be processing and packaging these high-value crops and market them outside the State, he added. He said that the joint venture is a step in the direction of a safer food supply chain and environment protection. He emphasized on the point that this joint venture will ensure that the State of Sikkim fulfills the mission of doubling farmers’ income highlighted by the Government of India. He urged farmers of Sikkim to establish the gold standards of organic farming for not only farmers of India but the farmers of the world by showing them how we can ensure a healthier world yet making profit through organic farming. The Chief Minister stressed that the Processing Unit is being set up in Rangpo particularly because it is the gateway town and it would be convenient to market the produce outside the State. He emphasized that the employment opportunities emanating from the Processing Unit should be made available to the people of Sikkim. The Chief Minister thanked Union Minister for Agriculture & Family Welfare for his visit to the State and for his presence and participation in the foundation laying programme.
Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar applauded IFFCO and Government of Sikkim’s initiative to strengthen organic agriculture in the country and honing its capability to provide livelihood to the local farmers. This will help in boosting economy of North Eastern states of India as they are pre-dominantly dependent on agriculture. This project is in line with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s strategic thinking and planning to boost organic farming in the country hence doubling farmers’ income in 2020. The Union Minister appreciated the commitment of the Government and the people of Sikkim, especially the farming community, to convert their farms into organic, thus becoming the first State in the country to be 100% organic. The Union Minister assured full support to the State in the agriculture sector, and that all the demands placed by the Chief Minister and State Agriculture Minister would be fulfilled.
Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Shri. L.B. Das in his address urged Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited to ensure that environmental norms are followed at every stage of the establishment of the Processing Unit. He also called for providing employment to local people in the Unit.
Minister, Agriculture & Horticulture, Government of Sikkim, Shri Lok Nath Sharma in his address stated that the foundation stone laying of the Integrated Processing Unit was a historic event and a milestone to boost agriculture in the state. The Minister stated that the establishment of Integrated Processing Unit is to ensure that the organic produce of the State are processed and packaged in one place and marketed outside the State. He stated that this would enhance the economy of the farmers as they would get the rightful price for their produce. The Minister also placed some demands before the Union Minister such as subsidy in Organic Fertilizer, support for formation of FPO, Inclusion of Buckwheat under Nutri-cereal Category under National Food Security Mission, Flexibility in guidelines, Enhancement in the scale of assistance, and increase financial support for focus crops namely Cardamom, Ginger, Turmeric and Buckwheat.
Managing Director, IFFCO, Dr. U.S. Awasthi said this is the beginning of a new era of organics at IFFCO. He further said that farmers can achieve any feat once they embrace food-processing with open arms. He said food-processing ensures value addition to the crops, which further ensures farmers make most profit out of their produce. It is IFFCO’s objective to begin this new decade with sustainable and environment-friendly agriculture for the farmers of the country. Sikkim IFFCO will be capable of promoting these certified organic products worldwide and enhancing the 100% organic image of Sikkim state globally. He emphasized that IFFCO has made dedicated efforts to retain soil fertility and ecological health by introducing organic fertilizers also.
Marketing Director, IFFCO, Shri Yogendra Kumar also highlighted in brief about the activities of IFFCO for the upliftment of the agrarian economy in the country.
Earlier, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Sikkim, Shri. R. Telang in his welcome address gave a brief introduction about Sikkim IFFCO project.
The programme also saw the Unveiling of ‘Sikkim IFFCO Organics Ltd’ Logo by the Chief Minister and Union Minister.
Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited is a Joint Venture between world’s biggest fertilizer cooperative IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd.) and Government of Sikkim. It is formed to promote and market the organic produce of the country, especially from the State of Sikkim and other North-Eastern states of the country. The major commercial crops in which Sikkim IFFCO will operate are Ginger, Turmeric, Large Cardamom and Buckwheat. The initial cost of the project is INR 50 Crore. The manufacturing would kick start from December, 2020. All Sikkim IFFCO products will be certified 100% organic hence, non-toxic in nature.
It may be informed that Sikkim IFFCO has already signed two MoU’s – one with Blossoms Biodynamics, USA for utilizing their marketing and distribution in the North American markets and the other with Centar Dr. Rudolfa Steinera, Croatia for marketing its products in Croatia and the European Union.
The Ceremony came to a conclusion with vote of thanks proposed by Managing Director, Sikkim IFFCO, Shri. Mukul Srivastava.