Speaker calls for financial package to encourage organic farming

GUWAHATI, Oct 9: Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Speaker TN Thongdok has called for a financial package to encourage organic and livestock farmers of the Northeast states in order to minimize dependence on other states of the country for food grains and meat supply.
Presenting his opinion on the topic of ‘Skill development for sustainable growth of organic farming in Northeast region’ during the 17th annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, India Region, Zone III, held here on 8 and 9 October, Thongdok said, “State governments must ensure guaranteed availability of farm labourers to agriculture sector, and unemployed youths must be trained for their involvement in organic farming.”
Emphasizing on regulation of organic farming, the speaker said organic farming has to be regulated only by the government and its agencies, without resorting to privatization.
“There may be a unified authority for regulating organic farming – one at the Centre and one in each state – so that organic farmers are not driven from pillar to post,” he said, and called for a single window to enable “ease of doing business” for organic farmers.
“While blocks should be basic administrative units for implementing organic farming, panchayats must be made basic political units for driving farmers towards organic farming,” Thongdok said.
He called upon the state governments to take steps to devolve more operational powers on the panchayats with respect to agriculture, irrigation, and allied activities enumerated in the 11th schedule to the Constitution.
He said unless the panchayat bodies are empowered, organic farming would make only snail’s progress and would not become a people’s movement.
The speaker also advocated pension for farmers and waiver of farm loans in order to motivate the youths in organic farming.
He said that in order to encourage consumption of organic products, the prices of organic farm products in the domestic markets must be kept lower than those of other agricultural products.
“There should be organic incentives for the organic farmers to fill the price gap by fixing higher fixing the minimum support price,” Thongdok said.