Gangtok, 25 Apr:
Farmers from different parts of Sikkim can now sell their organic produce here at the Kisan Bazaar in Gangtok from the coming Sunday. While the four-storied Bazaar is still under construction, two floors of the building have been exclusively allocated to local farmers of Sikkim for direct sale of their organic produce.
The two floors can accommodate 200 local farmers and has one space for SIMFED. Various facilities like canteen, cold storage, etc, will be provided to the farmers. The Kisan Bazaar will be inaugurated by Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department, Somnath Poudyal.
Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Horticulture & Cash Crop Development Department Director, DK Bhandari, informed that spaces at the two floors of Kisan Bazaar will now be available for local farmers of Sikkim to sell their products throughout the week starting this Sunday.
Farmers can either forward their produce to SIMFED or sell them directly to customers at Kisan Bazaar, he said further adding that no license will be required for farmers to sell vegetables in this space. However, they will need to bring a proof of identification or recommendation from the concerned Panchayat only to ensure that other people do not take the space which is meant exclusively for farmers.
He informed that Kisan Bazaar will have 85 other stalls for local farmers along with provision of two cold storage facilities. In order to discourage subletting of licenses, the department will cancel the allotment if anyone is found doing so, he added.
“We are encouraging farmers throughout the State to come and sell their produce directly to customers,” he said.
Mr Bhandari informed that such Kisan Bazaars will be coming up in other districts as well along with number of organic stalls throughout the State for farmers to sell their vegetables.
SIMFED Managing Director, Pawan Awasthy, stated that SIMFED has been giving top priority to growers and even providing better prices to them. He added that SIMFED vehicles have been picking up vegetables from various parts of the State for the convenience of farmers and to further motivate them in the organic mission.
Mr Awasthy also refuted various allegations of SIMFED selling non-organic vegetables and selling vegetables at higher rates after procuring them at low prices from growers. These are totally false, SIMFED is a government organisation which has all official records of its procurements and some vested interests are trying to defame the organisation, he stated.
SIMFED is willing to pay higher rates to the farmers to take the organic movement further, the loss will be borne by us, said Mr Awasthy.
Responding to media queries, Horticulture Director, Mr Bhandari, mentioned that there is sufficient supply of vegetables in all markets of the State. Although this is the lean period, there is sufficient supply of vegetables and there will be surplus produce in the coming months.
Mr Bhandari appealed to customers and hoteliers to cooperate with the organic movement at this moment and assured that the State will have all vegetables in days to come. He also mentioned that teams have been posted at check-posts of the State for strict checking of vegetables being brought from outside.