Sikkim’s farmers demand fertiliser subsidy reforms

October 26th, 2009 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Gangtok, Oct 26 (IANS) The farmers’ community and the Sikkim government Monday demanded fertiliser subsidy reforms, saying the state, which has adopted organic agriculture policy, is not benefiting from the central government’s policy of providing subsidy for chemical fertilisers.
Expressing their disappointment, farmers in the state have urged the central government to extend its fertiliser subsidy support to organic fertilisers too, while implementing the newly proposed direct subsidy system.

“We welcome the central government’s move to give fertiliser subsidy directly to the farmers, but we are concerned that the farmers of Sikkim will not be benefited from this scheme since it covers only chemical fertilizers,” said Food Security and Agriculture Development Minister Dawcho Lepcha.

Sikkim is planning to go completely organic by 2015. The state has adopted a plan to phase out the use of chemical fertilisers by 2010-11.

Obum Dorji, a representative of farmers, said it was more important that the centre extended the policy so that it could encourage other states to go for “eco-friendly” organic farming.

“By extending the subsidy to organic farming, we will be greatly benefited. Continuous use of chemical fertilisers make the soil lose its nutrients and the centre should discourage it,” Dorji said.

Added Gopikrishna, an activist of Greenpeace India: “The central government, while reforming the subsidy policy should adopt a holistic approach encompassing various aspects of production systems including bio-dynamics, organic farming, natural farming.”

“Crores of rupees spent every year on fertiliser subsidy should also be made available to farmers who adopt eco-friendly agricultural practices,” he added.

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