Manipur Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Letpao Haokip on Tuesday said that there are various high valued crops which are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory such as avocado, blueberry and saffron and can generate more income than poppy cultivation.
Speaking during the inauguration of a seven-day national workshop for faculties of colleges and universities on “Organic Farming” at GP Women’s College in Imphal, the minister pointed out that the mass illegal poppy plantation in the hill districts were adopted by farmers considering the income generation.
As an academician, he apprised the teachers who participated in the workshop that it is their duty to let the public, especially the farmers know about such high valued crops and to eradicate poppy cultivation.
Considering the irregular terrain of Manipur due to being a hillock state, he stressed the need of introducing mass terrace farming so that maximum of the cultivable land does not go unutilised.
With the rise in the country’s GDP and being among the G20 countries, India is moving forward to becoming a self-sustainable country by giving emphasis on public health, he said, adding in this process organic farming plays a vital role.
Admitting that organic farming is not an easy task, he informed that 37,000 hectares of the state has adopted organic farming, which is not even one per cent of the land of Manipur.
Letpao stated that if at least 50 per cent of the land of Manipur is dedicated to organic farming, the state will become self-sufficient in food products besides being a top exporter of organic products in the entire country.
Several other departments may suffer shortages of funds; however, the state government is fully committed that the Horticulture and Agriculture department do not face any shortages of funds considering food items as essential for living, he said.
Recalling the online delivery system from vegetable items introduced by his department during the Covid pandemic, the minister stressed the need of adopting such an online delivery system in order to reduce traffic congestions and for the convenience of people having tight schedules.
Pointing out that he considered the teachers attending the workshop as volunteers to encourage organic farming in horticulture products, Lepao sought their support in encouraging the practice of mass organic farming across the state.
The inaugural function was also attended by principal of GP Women’s College RK Tamphasana; vice-chancellor of DM University N Rajmuhon; director of Horticulture and Soil Conservation Honey Chara and principal DM College of Science M Bhubaneshwari Devi as presidium members.