Success Stories of Sikkim Farmers through Organic Practices
Technological Achievement — Organic Way
Since the state was declared organic in 2003, subsidy for inorganic fertilizers and pesticides was curtailed. the Departments of Food Security and Agriculture Development and Horticulture and Cash Crop Development have given immense importance to farmers’ capacity building on organic farming. Since 2004, most impactful technologies demonstrated and propagated by the Department are Effective Microorganisms (EM) technology, microbes enriched biomanures, biofertilizers such as Rhizobium, Azospirillum, Phosphate solubilizing bacteria, neem-based pesticides, growth promoting substances, vermicompost, rural compost-cum-urine pit, azolla etc. Varietal trials and identification of right indigenous landraces suitable for organic production is being taken up.
In collaboration with ICCOA, Bangalore a research programme is about to be concluded which has focus on developing organic package of practices for cultivation of important commercial crops of Sikkim.
Some of the technologies standardized for different crops in the State through research by ICAR, Sikkim are:
- Organic management for rejuvenating the declining orchard
- Organic mushroom cultivation
- Organic ginger cultivation
- Organic production technologies for Kiwi fruit
- System of Rice Intensification
Three Krishi Vigyan Kendras in the state, under the administrative control of Government of Sikkim and one KVK under ICAR have demonstrated various technologies on organic agriculture. Some of technologies demonstrated so far are:
- Use of pheromone traps for control of fruit flies in Sikkim Mandarin and Vegetables.
- Home-made biopesticides for control of blast disease in rice.
- Use of biodynamics for nutrients, pests and disease management in different crops.
- Use of botanicals for combating ginger diseases in the state.
- Enrichment of compost with biofertilizers and biopesticides.
- Use of biopesticides such as Trichoderma sp., Pseudomonas, Metarrhizium, Beauveria etc. in different crops.
- Introduction of different cultivars of cereals, pulses and horticultural crops suitable for the organic farming system.
- Short term research on developing package of practices of all crops in collaboration with ATMA is being initiated.
A unit of Indian Cardamom Research Institute at Gangtok and GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment has been working for standardization of organic package for large cardamom.
Extension models developed in a remote village following cluster approach for crop production and successful cultivation of the crops following organic means and technological intervention by KVK, South Sikkim is mentioned below.
Organic Orchard Management in Sikkim Mandarin
Sikkim Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco.) is one of the choicest fruit for table purpose and the most important cash crops of Sikkim. In Sikkim, it is cultivated in an area of 6300 hectare with estimated production of 17,190 MT and productivity of 1664 kg/ha. South district of Sikkim has an area of 925 ha under mandarin cultivation with production of 1740 q and productivity of 1881 kg/ha. Despite congenial climate for its production in South Sikkim, most of the orchards are becoming old and senile due to poor nutrient management and improper disease & pest management.
In order to revive these declining orchards, packages of organic technologies were demonstrated by Krishi Vigyan Kendra South Sikkim in an area of 15 ha at Turuk village in South Sikkim.
Interventions in terms of training, method demonstration of technologies and critical inputs, were made right after harvesting of the crop in the current season to harvesting the next year.
Methods on pruning of unproductive plants, on-farm production of compost and vermicompost, preparation of Cow Pat Pit (CPP) for pasting the trunk of orange trees, use of pheromone traps for fruit flies were demonstrated. Critical inputs such as pruning saw, pheromone traps for controlling fruit flies and light traps for white grubs were provided for the farmers.
Successful demonstration and practice of the technologies in field have shown fruitful results. The trees were found to have increased growth, production and quality of fruits and there was drastic reduction in fruit drop due to fruit flies. The total cost of rejuvenation for 15 ha orchard was Rs. 4.27 lakhs including all inputs and labour. The net return was calculated at Rs. 2000000 from 15 ha orchard which proved that there was significant increase in yield and the cost benefit ratio stood at 1:4. This programme has encouraged many more farmers to adopt integrated organic management for improving the productivity and profitability of organic plantations.
Combating Ginger Rhizome Disease
Ginger is cultivated widely in Sikkim and it is one of the most important cash crops especially for marginal and small farmers. Rhizome rot is a major problem in cultivation of the crop and farmers are incurring severe losses due to this disease. The farmers of Phongla village in South Sikkim who once were prominent ginger growers gradually switched over to other crops and ginger became almost extinct from their cropping system. After the establishment of KVK South Sikkim in 2007 at Namthang, decision was made to form farmers’ clubs in various villages for the dissemination of modern organic technologies to farmers and bring back the highly remunerative crops including ginger back to their fields.
Phongla Farmers Club were supported with 12 q of ginger seed worth Rs. 39000 in May 2009 to ensure proper monitoring and timely treatment. Farmers were advised to go in for cluster cultivation in 0.3 ha land.
Technologies applied in the field were treatment of quality seed with Bordeaux mixture (1:1:10), seed solarization (covering seed with plastic sheet for 5 to 6 hrs and keeping them under direct sunlight to kill seed-borne diseases), application of Effective Microorganisms Fermented Plant Extract (EMFPE). EMFPE of garlic + onion leaves +Canabis sp. leaves + wild poisonous plant leaves in mixture of cow urine + EM solution + extract after washing polished rice + alcohol + water in a ratio of 1:1:1:1:1:15. This treatment not only successfully controlled all types of rots but also eradicated disease inoculum from the fields.
Field day where crop cutting experiments were also performed highly benefited farmers of the area.
With proper management 0.3 ha of land yielded 96 q of organic ginger rhizome valued at Rs.144000 i.e a gain of approximately Rs.140000/- excluding labour component.
The novel efforts of Phongla Farmers’ Club was recognized by NABARD and they were awarded 2nd Best Farmers’Club of Sikkim and the club was also nominated by NABARD for National Award.
In the next season the 96 q of ginger rhizome was replanted in April 2010. The entire cultivation management was overseen by Farmers Club and suitably monitored by KVK South Sikkim. The farmers club assured supply of 400 q disease-free ginger seed to Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department for the next season.
The efforts of Phongla Farmers Club and direction provided by KVK South Sikkim have paved the way for re-introduction of ginger as a cash crop in Phongla village of South Sikkim after hiatus of over a decade.
Success Stories of Sikkim Farmers through Organic Practices
Dil Maya Chettri — A Woman Entrepreneur
If you have will power and determination to excel then being illiterate is no deterrent. This was proved by Ms Dil Maya Chettri of Village Chisopani, South Sikkim. Ms Maya a bread earner for a family of six owns only 0.5 ha of land but with her determination and support of Horticulture Department, she embarked on organic vegetable cultivation and now she is example for others to follow.
Road to Progress
During the year 2000, Dil Maya Chettri approached the Department of HCCD for vegetable seeds. She received cabbage seeds which she planted in her 0.5 ha field. She obtained a good crop that year. Next season, after the sucess of previous year she once again approached the Department for seeds of hybrid okra and organic inputs. After the sucessful cropping she started keeping herself in touch with the Department.
Once ready with flow of adequate yields, she started selling her organic produce by herself at Namchi and Jorethang bazars. Gradually, she enhanced her capacity to produce organic vegetables. At present, she grows okra, carrot, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, coriander, beet, knol-khol, celery, brinjal and some local vegetables. Now she is able to manage the livelihood of her family through vegetable cultivation and has become a pioneer commercial vegetable grower in the surroundings.
|Crops grown||Production (quintals)||Returns (Rs)|
Her strengths are:
- Her will power and laborious hard working nature
- Good plot of land
- Perennial water source available for irrigation
- Good source of manures from her own cattle and use of vermi compost
- Use of good quality seeds with scientific cultivation practices
- Her skill to produce crops during off-season, early or late
- She and her family members work themselves in the field
JAS BAHADUR RAI – PROGRESSIVE GINGER GROWER
Jas Bahadur Rai of village Salghari, South Sikkim has earned fame through organic ginger cultivation. A farmer having about 3.5 ha land has changed the future of his family with sheer dedication and scientific organic innovations delivered to him by Department of HCCD in a remote village in drought-prone area of South District.
Father of Jas Bahadur, Shri Pradeep Rai used to grow maize in kharif season and millets in rabi season. The produce was just enough to meet their direct family needs with very little or no surplus for market sale. Jas Bahadur inherited the legacy but growing needs and requirements made life miserable. In spite of all four family members working in the field, output was not sufficient to meet their demand. In search of additional enterprise, he started rearing some local poultry birds, sometimes goats, pigs etc for sale in the local market. This although, supplemented his income but still was not sufficient.
In the year 1997, Sri Jas Bahadur Rai was provided with 80 kg ginger seed and technical know-how on scientific cultivation practices from the HCCD Department. He planted 80 kg ginger seed and harvested 400 kg organic ginger. He had sold the mother rhizomes and recovered some of the expenditures involved in cultivation. Out of 400 kg, he sold 200 kg and got good return while remaining 200 kg was sown in the field. The next year he harvested 1100 kg of organic ginger. Out of which he sold 500 kg and the remaining 600 kg was planted in the field. Likewise, he started multiplying ginger seed continuously. In the year 2000, he was enlisted in the list of certified ginger seed grower of HCCD Department with more than 60 mounds (2400 kg) ginger seeds. He received training on ginger disease management through organic technology. Field staff and officers started visiting his field regularly. His ginger samples were analyzed in laboratory to ascertain its health. Finally, his ginger was certified for seed and he harvested 275 mounds (11000 kg).
Shri Rai supplied about 100 mounds (4000 kg) seed to the Department, earning about Rs 80000. Since then, he is continuously enlisted in the list of certified ginger seed growers for supplying quality seeds to the Department. Soon he became one of the well-
known ginger seed growers in the village. At present, he is economically sound, has constructed RCC building in the village, and started running ration shop but still growing ginger on a large scale.
Yearly production and Income
|Ginger harvest||Production||Returns (Rs)|
|Seed quality ginger||130.00||195000.00|
|General quality ginger||80.00||80000.00|
The training on organic ginger cultivation and management of insect pests and diseases were received by him from HCCD Department. The Department also sent him on exposure visit outside the state to learn about advanced techniques in ginger management. He was provided organic manures, biopesticides and a spray machine. Practical training was given at his farm itself. Adopting the new technology, he soon became an example of a sucessful educated young enterpreneur farmer in his village.
DHANPATI SAPKOTA- PROGRESSIVE FARMER FROM SIKKIM
Dhanpati Sapkota, an award winning farmer won a cash prize of Rs. 1.5 lakh in a vegetable growing competition during the International Flower Festival at Gangtok. The Chief Minister awarded the progressive farmer from Chota Singtam Assam Linzey, East Sikkim for his horticulture crops of ten different varieties.
Deviating from the traditional cultivation of dhaan (paddy) and makai (maize) for domestic consumption, Sapkota had introduced horticulture crops on 2 acres of his land after undergoing a three days training at Marchak. He also took part in an 11-days training on organic farming held at Uttaranchal which was supported by the State Horticulture and Cash Crops Development Department.
The training and self-belief produced astounding results for Sapkota. He was able to produce 19 q of cherry pepper worth Rs. 152000/- in the same year from 1900 seedlings. This encouraged him to embrace organic horticulture seriously. He began to cultivate cauliflower, tomato, cabbage and broccoli organically Sapkota harvested 40 kg tomatoes from one plant under protected cultivation in his holding. This year, the model farmer cultivated off-season tomatoes of Romeo variety by obtaining seeds from the State HCCD Department under the HMNEH. He sold 97 q of tomatoes worth Rs.194000/-. He also sold eight q of cauliflower worth Rs. 64000/- and 12 q of cherry pepper at Rs. 96000/-. ‘I am earning Rs. 2.5 lakh per year after paying wages to laborers and meeting other ancillary expenses’, said a proud Sapkota. He is regularly getting seeds, organic manure, bio-pesticides and other support from the Department.
Sapkota claimed that he has introduced ‘Jukuni Pharsi’ (pumpkin of Jukuni variety) which has a shape of a cucumber in Sikkim. Since he is the first farmer to cultivate ‘Jukuni Pharsi’, local people from Assam Lingzey have named the pumpkin as ‘Sapkota Pharsi’. He added that he had first seen this variety of pumpkin in the Rana’s farm at Bhaktapur in Nepal. Sapkota earned Rs. 90000/- from selling the Jukuni Pharsi.
He is also involved in animal husbandry and livestock management and had undergone training at Karfektar, Jorethang. Presently he has five cows out of which three are milching. He sells 20 litres of milk daily at the rate of Rs. 20 per litre. Sapkota also gets his supply of manure from the cows and has established a vermi-compost unit with help from the Department.
D.B.RAI -SUCCESSFUL BABY CORN GROWER
A small and sleepy, far-flung and remote village in Bermiok in West Sikkim, Lower Martam is located at a distance of nearly 150 Km from the capital town Gangtok and 40 km from the District Headquarter Geyzing. With large cardamom plagued by various pests and diseases, their has been a little decline in large cardamom as also the income from other agricultural sources until one day when Shri D.B. Rai a progressive farmer learnt about baby corn cultivation while attending a meeting at the nearby VLW Centre of the Department of Agriculture at Martam where he was also told about the cultivation techniques by the departmental official. Initially reluctant to grow the crop, he along with others took some seeds for planting in his 0.6 ha of land which he did so using FYM produced in his own farm and other organic inputs provided by Agriculture Department.
Taking special care as it was the first time that he was introducing the crop in his land, there was cent per cent germination of the crop and as advised he was carefully observing along with his family members for emergence of the male inflorescence so that he could remove it immediately as he was also told that it should be removed immediately after emergence as there was no need for pollination in case of this crop.
Thrilled at his first harvest and the harvest that followed everyday, he immediately contacted SIMFED as he was unable to handle such a bumper harvest he was able to get from his crop. Finally, at the end of the harvesting season, he was able to sell and earn a profit of Rs. 48000/- in just three months from such a small piece of land which he had never even imagined he would have been able to do so three months back. In addition, demand for the baby corn also came to him from Pelling and Geyzing where by supplying to the hotels there he could also earn another additional ten thousand rupees.
He has been a pioneer in the field of organic baby corn cultivation in the village and has been an example of success for others to emulate especially when they find that the crop was able to give such income in such a short period of time. The Department has categorized him as an early adopter and has decided to expand cultivation of baby corn in the adjoining areas in future.