GANGTOK: The Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services jointly organised a daylong Awareness Programme on Adoption of Advanced Technology in Farming viz Aquaponics, Hydroponics and Rooftop Farming in Sikkim under the guidance of Minister In-charge Shri Lok Nath Sharma at the Labour Department complex in Sokaythan on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang graced the occasion as chief guest. He was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, Shri L.N. Sharma, Minister of Labour Department, Shri M.N. Sherpa, MLA Shri G.T. Dhungel, Deputy Mayor Smt Tshering Palden Bhutia, Additional Chief Secretary, Labour Department, Shri A.K. Yadav, along with Secretaries, officials and other dignitaries of the concerned departments.
The programme was also attended by students from various schools and colleges of Gangtok, farmers and representatives of National Fisheries Development Board Government of India, SHGs, FPOs and various NGOs.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang said that the increase in population has become a concern worldwide, pressurising not just food supply but also food quality standards. He asserted that the farmers and other stakeholders need to shift their focus from conventional methods of farming in the existing world of today which is supervised by advanced science and technology to provide convenient and sustainable methods of cultivation and farming. The adoption of advanced technologies of Aquaponics, Hydroponics and Rooftop Farming will mark a historical milestone in the State of Sikkim towards exploring the potential of these sectors in bringing about a solution to problems of food supply, quality standards and population growth.
The Chief Minister also announced that the cost of milk from Sikkim Milk would now be Rs. 40 per litres from the beginning of 1st March, 2022. He further clarified that the State government has not cut down the milk procurement rates in Sikkim as per the recent government order and he has urged the dairy farmers to improve the quality of milk according to the prescribed standard prescribed by the Sikkim Milk Union as 3.5% and 7.5% SNF. This decision has been taken under the expertise of the Board members with the aim to procure the right value of milk for dairy farmers in the market. He further added that the incentive on milk will be debited through direct transfer every two months from March onwards, and assured that the State government will extend its full support for the welfare of dairy farmers of Sikkim.
He encouraged the youth to participate in agriculture and farming sectors to mitigate unemployment issues in the State by contributing to an integrated food production system.
Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services, Shri Lok Nath Sharma, in his brief address, said that this awareness programme held on a very unique calendrical date which is 22.2.22, and this distinct date marks the opening of multi-dimensional scope for farmers in Sikkim for another holistic development. He stated that there is an urgent need to find alternative, sustainable and reliable methods to meet the demands for increased food production with the rapidly increasing population growth. The State government has thereby initiated the adoption of Aquaponics, Hydroponics and Rooftop farming in Sikkim as an alternative method to reduce pressure on land and water resources, he added.
Highlighting on the advantages of the innovative practices pertaining to Aquaponics, Hydroponics and Rooftop farming, the Minister said that farmers are the backbone of any nation and that the State government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, has been consistently striving to strengthen the farming sector and empower the farmers in Sikkim. He stated that the production incentive being provided by the State government for 13 selected varieties of cash crops and vegetables is in itself a historic step that will not only benefit the farmers but also encourage the youth to take up farming as a sustainable source of income.
He encouraged all to acquire and gain adequate understanding about food production system of aquaponics through various awareness programmes which are being organised by the concerned departments. He urged all for their active participation in entrepreneurship development in the State while strengthening the economy of the nation as well.
During the programme, Secretary, AH&VS, Dr. P. Senthil Kumar, gave a presentation on Aquaponics while Director, Horticulture, Shri Sadan Tamang, presented an insight into Hydroponic and Rooftop Gardening.
The AH&VS Department also distributed laptops to six supervisors of Sikkim Livestock Development Board to support their activities in imparting awareness on Artificial Insemination in rural areas.
At the onset of the event, the chief guest along with the dignitaries also launched and visited the Aquaponic, Hydroponic and Rooftop Gardening Demonstration Centre setup near the Labour Department complex.
Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by Secretary, Horticulture while the vote of thanks was proposed by Principal Director, AH&VS.
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