Imphal: Manipur opened the region's first organic store here on Monday under the Centre's Mission Organic Value Chain Development in the Northeast.
Opening the store, named Organic Outlet, at the gate of the horticulture directorate here, horticulture and soil conservation minister Th. Shyamkumar Singh said organic food products reduce health problems.
Horticulture director K. Kipgen, claiming that this is the first organic store in the region under the central scheme, said, "The farmers will have better price and the state will have better economy if the farming completely turns organic."
The Centre had launched the scheme in 2015-16, realising the potential of organic farming in the Northeast. The Manipur Organic Mission Agency started implementing it last year.
The store will be an outlet for 5,000 farm produce across 5,000 hectares in the state. Of these, 3,000 farmers plant horticultural items while 2,000 farmers produce agricultural items. The farmers are registered under the Manipur Organic Mission Agency.
The store has horticultural and agricultural products like ginger, turmeric, pineapple, king chilly, lemon, orange, fresh vegetables, fruits, all kinds of pulses, organic pesticides and organic manure, among others.
The store is yet to start sales as officials of the horticulture and agriculture departments are yet to fix prices of the items to be sold. The sale will start in the next few days and the prices will be slightly higher than similar items available in the open market, officials said.
The items are certified as organic products by relevant authorities of the Centre. The items at the outlet are certified for domestic market and for export, the officials said.
"The government is planning home delivery of the products and their export in a big way. The horticulture and agriculture department should try to be farmer-friendly," Shyamkumar said.
The minister appealed to the people to opt for organic food items not only to encourage farmers to go for organic farming but also to reduce their health problems. "Because of consumption of vegetables and horticultural items produced by using chemical fertilisers, people in the state are experiencing more ailments. Consuming organic food is good for the farmers, the people and the state's economy," he said.