The Organic Hub of India : Asthalakshmi States
Northeast cannot compete with states like Punjab or those along the Gangetic plains in terms of production. In Assam despite having fertile soil, the cropping intensity is very less and agriculture is mostly monocropping. Therefore, Northeast needs to develop a niche sector for its produce. – Megh Nidhi Dahal*
Food is the most important thing in life has the capacity to change human beings radically and thus it is important, because ‘We are what we eat’. These days we all understand the need of the hour, focusing on the Organic farming is very important not just for producing food that is healthy and non-toxic and People have lost touch with the food production system, this is about removing the Petroleum by-product
toxins (which are sold in the name of fertilizers) from the soil and whole eco-system.
North-East have majorly carried out farming in a traditional way.
The relative geographic isolation and lean population rendered commercial agriculture unviable. Lack of commercialisation in agriculture meant non-application of “modern” methods of farming which until recently meant primarily using machines, modern irrigation systems, HYV seeds and chemical fertilizers and other chemical inputs. This meant that in the states of the North East, farming is more or less organic already barring a few pockets known for commercial cultivation.
Why organic farming in the northeast?
Firstly, Northeast cannot compete with states like Punjab or those along the Gangetic plains in terms of production. In Assam despite having fertile soil, the cropping intensity is very less and agriculture is mostly monocropping. Therefore, Northeast needs to develop a niche sector for its produce. It has developed that in terms of horticulture products like oranges, cardamom, pineapple, etc. and the easy way to develop that in terms of cereal, pulses and vegetables is by going organic.
Secondly, organic farming requires a large quantity of biomass to make organic manure. With its rich vegetation, the northeast has no shortage of biomass.
Thirdly, crops are easier to sustain in the regions they originated. The gene pool of major horticulture products like oranges can be traced to the northeast. Horticulture in India uses 10% area and contributes 33% in value. Having such high-value crops which are already grown organically in the region is a boon to the northeast. All that is needed is branding and certification to fetch a premium on the market.
Further, organic farming can be linked to a variety of concepts like wellness tourism. Northeast can be a hub of wellness tourism.
What needs to be done to promote Organic farming in NE?
Firstly, NE must be recognised formally as Organic Hub. Recognition of Sikkim as an organic state, for instance, has made it easier for entrepreneurs to venture into high-value organic product marketing. The farmers must be made aware of the value of their products and other positive effects organic farming has on health, wellbeing and ecology. Next, transportation and storage infrastructure needs to be strengthened. To do so, government alone cannot be held responsible and there is a significant role to be played by the civil society as well.
*Megh Nidhi Dahal is an IAS from the Indian State of Sikkim and currently serving as Assistant Secretary of Ministry of Rural Development. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team