Gangtok, 18 Jan (IPR): The third edition of ‘Sikkim Organic Day’ was observed today at Manan Bhawan here. The Day featured a new aspect this year – the ‘Krishi Unnati Mela’ and had Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the chief guest.

The Chief Minister congratulated and thanked the farmers and public for adopting the idea of organic farming and providing leadership in the field of sustainable agricultural practices.

He acknowledged and appreciated the contribution of farmers and every individual and the government in making Sikkim a fully Organic Farming State.

“With this, Sikkim has given a positive message to the world,” he said.

Sikkim has been appreciated as a role model in Organic Farming across the globe and has reached new milestones in organic farming which is validated by the numerous awards and accolades bestowed upon the State at the national and international stage.

“Sikkim has set an outstanding example for the world,” he added.

The Chief Minister also urged the public to work harder to strengthen the Sikkim Organic Mission, give continuity to the success, and not leave any land fallow and thereby ensure surplus production.

He asked Self Help Groups, farmers and unemployed youth to opt for organic farming as a profession and take advantage of the opportunities created.

“Agriculture as a profession will never go out of fashion or get outdated,” he stressed.

He emphasized that the future of agriculture rests on the shoulders of the Sikkimese youth and everybody needs to make this sector more attractive, fashionable and lucrative.

He also announced his commitment to make Sikkim a self-sufficient state in dairy and perishable vegetable production and to achieve self sufficiency in Food Grains within five years. This, he said, will come under the Five Year Mission of Sikkim.

The Chief Minister encouraged people for the creation of Agro-Grower Cooperatives, Producer Associations, as these were the need of the hour to motivate group farmers into entrepreneurs, self-help groups and production companies for processing, value-addition and marketing.

Also today, he called on the people to exercise social policing, responsibility and accountability to sustain the organic mission and laid emphasis on exclusive preparation of organic manure such as vermi-compost and green manure.

Likewise, he called for increasing the population of cattle for propagation of dairy farming in the State and administered the concerned Department to create a Seed Bank on priority.

The two-day event is being organized jointly by the Food Security & Agriculture Development Department, Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department, and ICAR-National Organic Farming Research Institute, with support from National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), ICAR-RCNEH Research Complex North-Eastern Hill Region and ICAR-ATARI-IV Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute-IV.

Agriculture Minister, Somnath Poudyal, in his address, said that efforts of the State Government have created a ripple effect across the Indian States and the idea of organic farming has received full emphasis in India as well, a focus not seen in the past.

It is a great privilege to see Sikkim mentioned as a role model in organic farming across the nation, he shared.

For unemployed youth of Sikkim, the government has created enormous opportunities to cater and excel in organic farming, he added.

Earlier, the Agriculture Secretary, Khorlo Bhutia, in his welcome address, spoke about the transformation Sikkim’s Organic Farming Mission has delivered and the awards and accolades it has collected for the State and its growth till date.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer, Sikkim Organic Mission, Dr S Anbalagan, presented an overview of Sikkim Organic Mission.

The programme also saw the felicitation of progressive farmers and retired officer Dorjee Tenzing Bhutia

During the program, the Chief Minister also handed over appointment orders to seven candidates to the post of Field Assistants in the Agriculture Department under the “One Family, One Job” scheme. He also released a souvenir and film on Sikkim Organic Festival.

The program was also attended by Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, KN Rai, MLAs, Chief Secretary, Heads of Departments and officers of the State Government, Panchayats, officer of ICAR-NOFRI and partner organizations, and farmers from throughout the State.