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India: 5,000 farmers in a organic farming project
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Picture: Organic small farmers in the state Himachal Pradesh, India
The State Government has identified 10 clusters across nine districts of Assam, in the North East of India, for implementation of the centrally-sponsored Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD) for the north-eastern region. Officials told the Assam Tribune that the nine districts where organic farming is feasible are Golaghat, Nalbari, Kokrajhar, Kamrup Metro, Sonitpur, Majuli, Dhemaji, Cachar and Chirang. The target is to cover 5,000 hectares of farmland and 5,000 farmers under the scheme.
MOVCD develops organic potential in the north-eastern region
The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched MOVCD during the 12th Plan period (2012-17) to tap the organic potential in the north-eastern region. The main objectives were to develop a commodity-specific organic value chain and address gaps in organic crop production, wild crop harvesting, organic livestock management and the processing, handling and marketing of organic agricultural products. This was to be achieved by developing crop-specific organic production clusters with the necessary infrastructure, technical and financial support by facilitating partnerships between farmers and organic businesses. It is intended to help the farmers by providing an enabling environment for project initiatives and development programmes with the necessary support for organic value chain development and also by creating market access and brand building for products from the this region.
“The farmers of the clusters will be organised in self-help groups and they will be registered under the Society Registration Act as Farmer Producer Companies. The farmer growers will also be certified as organic growers so that their produce may be marketed as certified organic, and for better marketing of the organic products branding, labelling, value addition and processing facilities will be created,” said Mowsam Hazarika, Assistant Director of Agriculture (Horticulture, Crop Insurance & FMC).
Sources said that Butikar in Dhemaji, Pokajora in Majuli and Kaziranga in Golaghat are clusters selected for red rice cultivation under the MOVCD, while an area in Kaziranga cluster will also be for black rice. Podumpathar in Golaghat, Sonapur in Kamrup Metro, Titaguri in Kokrajhar and Panbari in Chirang have been selected for ginger and turmeric. Bihaguri cluster in Sonitpur district has been specified for okra and ridge gourd, along with ginger cultivation. Lakhipur cluster in Cachar district has been selected for pineapple.