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Plan to set up 126 organic farms

Guwahati, July 20: Dispur is involving all 126 legislators to popularise organic farming in the state by funding 50-hectare farms in each constituency.

Cutting across party lines, agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka invited all MLAs to the central hall of the Assembly this evening and gave a Powerpoint presentation on the potential of organic farming.

Among those present were Assam Agricultural University vice-chancellor K.K. Bujarbaruah.

Deka asked for the cooperation of the 40-odd MLAs present during the presentation to cooperate with the drive, which could generate income for farmers in the underdeveloped Northeast.

“We have been approached by big business houses such as Big Bazaar when we announced our plans to go organic. Just imagine what will be the response if we start in a big way. There is huge potential and I want all of you to be part of this revolution,” Deka told the legislators.

According to the plan chalked out by Deka and his team, a crop area of 50 hectares will be used in every constituency to start with and the focus will be on growing paddy, pulses and vegetables between 2012 and 2015.

“We want to start a 50-hectare farm in each constituency. In all, we propose to invest Rs 32 crore on 6,300 hectare in three years, by when we will be getting certification. We will launch the drive by October-November. Hope the legislators find the plots by then,” Deka told The Telegraph.

A department official said they had tested the waters between 2004-2007 by growing aromatic joha rice in three districts covering an area of 91 hectares and had exported 17.5 metric tonnes of certified joha in 2007. “It was a small beginning and an example of the department’s ability to go organic. But we have to go a long way to see its visible impact on farmers and consumers for healthy economic growth because we have huge potential. The project period is three years,” he said.

In 2009, Dispur had declared Karbi Anglong district as the first organic agriculture zone of the state.