Darj to be a farming model

Statesman News Service
KALIMPONG, Aug. 21. — Organic farming is all set for a boost with the Agricultural and processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) confirming the ministry of agriculture’s plans to set up a ‘model organic farm’, in the hills of Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling Congress MP, Mr Dawa Narbula, has written to the Union minister for agriculture, Mr Sharad Pawar, requesting him for the establishment of a farm here.
“A sum of Rs 92 crore had been sanctioned during the 10th annual plan for the setting up of such farms in the whole of India, so we felt the necessity for such a farm in the hills”, Mr Narbula said on Friday.
“Darjeeling hills are famous for organic cultivation but it has been omitted from the scheme. Six fruits from the state of West Bengal have been identified for organic farming and especially in regard to Darjeeling it is known that we are wholly dependent upon organic farming.
Hence if we avail this facility then the prices of our products in the international markets would rise manifold”, he said.
Welcoming the move, the officer-in-charge of the Kalimpong Citrus Dieback Station, Dr Kishore Thapa, also stressed the need for creating awareness about organic farming especially with the prospects of the hills as an agricultural belt.
“Organic products are highly rated both in national and international markets as it is most preferred nowadays.
Farming here in the hills is traditionally organic but one notable problem is that we do not have a set-up to categorise our products.
Hence the need for a certification and awareness programme”, Dr Thapa stressed.
Mr Narbula also stated that the formalities of the project including site selection are being deliberated upon.

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