Gangtok,October27: The Government of Sikkim, farmers and other stakeholders of Agriculture in the State came together on Monday, October 25, to urge the Union Government of India to extend its fertilizer subsidy support to organic fertilizers, while implementing the newly proposed direct subsidy system. They deliberated at a public consultation on the fertilizer subsidy reforms organized by Greenpeace India. Sikkim has adopted an organic agriculture policy and is planning to go completely organic by 2015. The State has adopted a plan to phase out the use of chemical fertilizers by 2010-11.
“We welcome the Central Government’s move to give fertilizer subsidy directly to the farmers, but we are concerned that the farmers of Sikkim will not be benefitted from this scheme as it only covers chemical fertilizers whereas States like Sikkim have adopted an organic policy. We demand that the subsidy support be extended to organic fertilizers as well, so that the farmers from this organic state are also benefitted”, said Mr. Dawcho Lepcha, Minister for Food Security and Agriculture Development, Sikkim, in a written statement which was read out at the meeting.
Mr. SK Gautam, Secretary, Department of Food Security and Agriculture Development who inaugurated the consultation said, “Greenpeace has been championing the cause of clean and green environment and I congratulate them for taking up this crucial subject of fertilizer subsidy reforms with more inclusive participation of various stakeholders in Agriculture.” He further said, “The Central Government while reforming the subsidy policy should adopt a holistic approach encompassing various aspects of production systems including bio-dynamics, organic farming, natural farming etc. Organic fertilizers and other soil amendments which are important constituents in improving soil health should also be brought under the purview of fertilizer subsidy policy.”
“Farmers who adopt eco-friendly agricultural practices have historically been denied the benefits of the Central Government subsidy”, said Gopikrishna SR, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Greenpeace India.