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Organic farming pact inked

Th. Shyamkumar at the MoU signing in Imphal. Picture by Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh

Imphal: The Pherzwal District Agro Producers' Development Society, representing organic farmers, signed a memorandum of understanding with MSTC Ltd, a central government enterprise, in the presence of horticulture and soil conservation minister Th. Shyamkumar at his office here on Friday.

V.L. Keivom, representing the Pherzawl farmers, and Soukat Das, the Guwahati branch manager of MSTC Ltd, signed the memorandum.

Shyamkumar said as a follow-up programme of the ginger festival-cum-business summit held on April 20 at Parbung in Pherzawl district, the department and its Manipur Organic Mission Agency (Moma) has come up with the initiative for the farmers as they were searching for a market place.

He said the memorandum was signed between the Pherzwal District Agro Producers Development Society and MSTC Ltd (Calcutta) under the ministry of steel. MSTC Ltd will buy 1,000 metric tonnes of organic ginger from the farmers at Rs 19 per kg, amounting to Rs 1.9 crore.

Expressing hope that the MoU will help generate income for farmers, especially for those of Parbung, Shyamkumar said his department will also undertake such initiatives in other districts.

Moma mission director K. Debadutta Sharma said MSTC Ltd will lift the first consignment on June 20. "Per day 32kg of ginger will be procured from the farmers for a month. Once the consignment is lifted, immediate payment will be made through the account of the farmers registered in MSTC Ltd's portal. Further, the products will be sold through e-auction on the portal," he added.

Shyamkumar said MSTC Ltd procures products from a group of farmers and organisations that are registered with the portal following certain criteria involving testing of the products.

He said the farmers have to bear the transportation charge till Churachandpur from where the company will lift the consignment to Calcutta at their own expense.

Sharma said if quality management and consistency are streamlined, a big market place could be set up for organic products, including turmeric and pineapple among others, in the next few years.

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