| Assam agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka at a brinjal field in Assamís Morigaon dstrict. File picture |
Guwahati, June 21: Dispur has engaged the corporate sector to help in marketing and promotion of the fledgling organic sector in the state.
Assam agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka today told the media that representatives of two corporate groups would visit the state this month to hold discussions with chief minister Tarun Gogoi and him to chalk out the plan to market the stateís organic produces in different parts of the country. He said the agriculture department is in touch with several such groups.
The entry of the corporate sector has come close on the wheels of Dispurís announcement to launch the Chief Ministerís Organic Farming Mission with an initial funding of Rs 20 crore.
The mission will target a minimum cultivable area of 30 bighas in each of the 126 Assembly constituencies. The land will be cultivated by groups, cooperatives or small groups formed by farmers, and each group will get Rs 15 lakh as assistance.
Deka told this correspondent that as part of promoting organic agriculture produces the state would soon announce its fertiliser policy to resist indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
The minister said the government would soon adopt its own procurement policy of agriculture produce to enable farmers get the deserving market prices of their products.
Deka said though Assam produced 50.54 lakh tonnes of rice last year, Food Corporation of India procured only 27,000 tonnes, forcing farmers into distress sales. He said the state had 5,00,000 tonnes of surplus rice.
ďA Delhi-based firm is preparing the blueprint on how to streamline various agriculture infrastructure including the setting up of cold storage facility to enable the state government to procure various agricultural produce, particularly rice and jute, by giving the farmers the right prices for their product. We should be able to start the procurement process from October,Ē he said.
Deka said despite floods which have already damaged 9,754.83 hectares of cropland, the state is targeting 51,00,000 tonnes of rice this year which would be more than the last yearís figure.
In January, renowned agriculture scientist G.V. Ramanjaneyulu warned that Assam could go the Chhattisgarh way in terms of farmersí suicides if the state government failed to implement concrete measures in protecting the interests of farmers.
The scientist spoke at an interactive session on the current crisis in Indian agriculture and the way forward. The session was held at Cotton College State University.
Deka said the state government would set the jute park on public-private partnership model at Besimari in Darrang district to give exposure to jute products and farmers.