Rangpo, 22 Dec:
The foundation stone of two Integrated Processing Units of Sikkim Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Organics Limited was laid by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang [Golay] in the presence of Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, who was present as the chief guest at Rangpo in East Sikkim on Sunday.
Sikkim IFFCO Organics Ltd is a joint venture of between fertilizer cooperative, IFFCO, and the Government of Sikkim, with the aim to promote and market organic produce of the country, especially from Sikkim and other north-eastern States of India. The major commercial crops of Sikkim which IFFCO will focus on are ginger, turmeric, large cardamom and buckwheat.
It is informed that the initial cost of the project is Rs 50 crore and manufacturing is scheduled to begin from December next year.
It is informed that all SIFFCO products will be certified 100% organic.
The upcoming integrated organic food processing units at Rangpo are also India's largest single organic processing units and expected to boost the organic trade with Americas and European Union.
It is informed that Sikkim IFFCO has already signed MOU’s with Blossoms Biodynamics, USA, to use their marketing and distribution network in the North American markets and with Centar Dr Rudolfa Steinera, Croatia, for marketing Sikk in Croatia and the European Union.
In his address, the Union Minister informed that the Centre will extend all possible support to assist agricultural development in Sikkim.
He mentioned that the upcoming units will help transform the life of farmers by increasing their production and by taking local organic produce of Sikkim to international markets.
Mr Tomar congratulated the Chief Minister and the people of Sikkim for the upcoming processing units and appreciated the IFFCO initiative on choosing Sikkim.
He mentioned that Sikkim has created a brand identity in organic farming and congratulated farmers here and the people for their contributions in making Sikkim an Organic State.
He mentioned that this project was in line with the vision of the Prime Minister’s strategic thinking and plans to boost organic farming in the country and through it doubling farmer-incomes by 2020.
Addressing the gathering, the CM, in turn, mentioned that agriculture was a priority sector of the State government which was committed to attain sustainable agriculture and promote Green Himalayan Economy.
He mentioned that the State government has been working towards the target of doubling farmer incomes by increasing organic produce and extending more benefits to farmers.
Mr Tamang expressed hope that the project will help secure the right price for local farmers and that Sikkim IFFCO Organic Limited will help meet all the hopes and aspirations of the farmers of Sikkim.
He mentioned that this joint venture was a step towards establishing safer food supply chain and environment protection.
The CM mentioned that this unit would help take organic produce of the State to international markets and hence not only the people of Rangpo but people all over the State will benefit from it.
He mentioned that the processing units will also create immense opportunities for the people and urged the people of Rangpo to take the full benefit of these opportunities.
He informed that the State government has already asked IFFCO to give preference to locals of the area in different opportunities created by the processing unit.
Sikkim Legislative Assembly Speaker, LB Das, who is also the area MLA, also urged IFFCO to give preference to residents of the constituency in different non-technical works and employment opportunities.
Similarly, Agriculture & Horticulture Minister, Lok Nath Sharma, mentioned that the laying of the foundation stone for the unit was a historic moment for the State and will help take organic farming to new heights.
He expressed hope that this unit will help to fetch the right price for farmers and hence increase production manifold. He also placed some demands with the Union Minister with regard to the farmers of Sikkim.
Earlier, IFFCO Managing Director, Dr US Awasthi, thanked the Centre and State governments for understanding the importance of the organization by extending all support to this project. He mentioned that this unit was one of the modern organic processing units in the world which will run primarily on solar energy.
He mentioned that Sikkim IFFCO will be capable to promote certified organic products worldwide and enhance the 100% organic image of Sikkim.
In his welcome address, Principal Secretary to Agriculture Department, R Telang, mentioned that Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited was like a public sector unit which has 49% share of Sikkim Government and 51% is held by the Government of India.