Three days National Webinar “Sustaining Organic Farming During and Post COVID-19” at College of Agri

Gangtok, 06 Aug: Three days National Webinar Sustaining Organic Farming During and Post COVID-19 from 03–05 Aug, 2020 was inaugurated at College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (Central Agricultural University), Ranipool on 03 Aug, 2020 by Chancellor, Dr S Ayyappan, CAU, Imphal as Chief Guest of program and Chief Patron of webinar, Vice-Chancellor, Prof M Premjit Singh, CAU (Imphal) as Patron of webinar and Guest of Honour, Director of Instruction, Dr S Basanta Singh, CAU, Imphal and Director of Extension Education, Dr RK Saha, CAU, Imphal as distinguished guests, and Dean, Prof PP Dabral, CAEPHT as Chairman of the program. Three days national webinar was organized by Assistant Professors of MTTC & VTC, CAEPHT, CAU, Ranipool, namely, Dr Sunil Kumar Chongtham, Dr Diana Sagolsem, Dr Vinodh Subramani and Dr Y Rupert Anand.

VC, Prof M Premjit Singh (CAU Imphal) highlighted that NE India is known as the organic hub all over the world, and discussed a few constraints of the organic farming inputs. He narrated a successful story of a progressive farmer from Sikkim, who enhanced his total farm income from Rs. 2.65 lakh to Rs. 4.15 lakh after adopting the organic farming system. Dr S Ayyappan discussed the food approach during and post COVID-19 and discussed market linkage for not only for the products but also for the inputs required for the organic farming. Prof Dabral (Chairperson of webinar) emphasized need for sustaining organic farming during and post COVID-19. After inaugural program, the first technical session on theme entitled constraints in organic farming and their sustainable interventions was started with lecture on good agricultural practices through agronomy interventions for organic crop production from former Director, Prof RP Singh, BHU, Varanasi. Principal Scientist, Dr GT Behere delivered talk on insect pest management in organic agriculture. Senior Scientist, Dr Raghavendra Singh, ICAR-Tadong gave lecture on integrated organic farming systems to secure food and nutritional security.

The second day began with theme entitled new technology or intervention for organic farming on 04 Aug, 2020 with lecture from Prof & Head (FMPE), Dr SN Yadav on technologies for farm mechanization to support sustainable organic crop production. Prof L Nabachandra Singh gave lecture on agrotechniques of organic ginger production and opportunity with particular reference to Manipur. Professor (SWCE) & PI, AICRP on PET, Dr Deepak Jhajharia delivered a lecture on role of Plasticulture Engineering Technologies in sustaining organic farming during the global pandemic. He presented the various activities performed in different districts of Sikkim by the AICRP on plasticulture engineering technologies (Gangtok centre) during last five months of the global pandemic due to the corona virus to support the progressive farmers of Sikkim through construction of greenhouse and poultry shed with distribution of 2000 chicks, laying of plastic mulch, and distribution of 1200 saplings of lemon and guava fruit saplings. Associate Professor (Department of Horticulture), Dr Laxuman Sharma, Sikkim University delivered a lecture on Organic Certification Process for Group Growers. Professor, Dr Mrityunjoy Ghosh, Department of Agronomy, BCKV (Mohanpur), West Bengal covered a relevant topic on certification and inspection systems in organic farming. Prof RK Saha (DEE, CAU) delivered lecture on strategies and opportunities of marketing and entrepreneurship in organic farming on 05 Aug, 2018. Subsequently, Dr S Basanta Singh (DI, CAU) gave a lecture on value chain of organic commodities in NEH region of India. Associate Prof & Head (PFE), Dr Sujata Jena, CAEPHT delivered talk on entrepreneurial opportunities in micro and small scale processing of fruits, vegetables and spices. The valedictory session of three days National Webinar “Sustaining Organic Farming During and Post COVID-19” at CAEPHT, Ranipool was started with the welcome address of Prof Dabral as Chairman of program. Dr K Mamocha Singh (Registrar, CAU Imphal) talked about the need to have world-class lab for producing bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers in the northeast region instead of procuring from outside and also stressed the need to use agriculture waste and bio-mulching materials in the organic farming system. Prof RK Saha (DEE, CAU Imphal), addressing as Guest of Honour, said that the COVID-19 situation has given us an opportunity to rethink the practices being used now in our agriculture system and re-orient our strategy for organic farming in view of the pandemic. He also talked about the entrepreneurship required for the migratory labours at their own native places and the need of the contact farming and use of the ICT in the organic farming in view of the global pandemic caused due the deadly virus. Dr S Basanta Singh (DI, CAU Imphal), as Guest of Honour, talked about the unique crops, such as, black rice, high quality turmeric and ginger and other spices, such as, large cardamom, and the need of higher market prices for the organic products produced in the fully organic systems from the northeastern region of India in comparison to the other parts of our country. Prof M Premjit Singh, VC, CAU (Imphal), addressing the valedictory session as Chief Guest, talked about the organic farming and the natural farming on cluster basis and discussed twelve strategies to sustain the organic farming, such as, implementation of the organic farming policy, availability of organic seeds and planting materials, animal feeds, seed pricing mechanism for organic seeds, formation of organic Farmer’s SHG or associations, Zero tillage and minimum tillage, use of mulching, both plastic and bio-mulches, watershed development, rainwater harvesting, nutrient management, integrated farming system, identifying suitable varieties for organic farming, protected cultivation in combination with organic farming and bee-keeping, simplified organic farming certification programs and farm mechanization for hill agriculture. Dr S Vinodh gave of vote of thanks at the end of the three days national webinar.