Imphal: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Thursday flagged off the consignment of one MT of organic Chak-Hao (black rice) to Europe in a simple function held at the western gate of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
On the occasion, he also flagged off vehicles carrying quality seeds for distribution to villagers of different districts affected by the destruction of poppy plantations due to the Government’s ‘War on Drugs’ campaign. Quality seeds are being provided to villagers under the Alternative Seed Distribution Scheme by the Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Government of Manipur.
Addressing the media, N. Biren Singh said that Chak-Hao had got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and it had good demands from different parts of the country as well. He said that for the first time, 1 MT of this highly nutritious rice variety was being exported officially to different European countries.
He further said that export of organic ginger and pineapple are also being done regularly under the aegis of Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Government of Manipur. Stating that all necessary support is being extended to farmers in this regard, the Chief Minister said that there is a need for quantity and quality increase in production of indigenous varieties.
Regarding the distribution of seeds, the Chief Minister said that Thursday’s distribution of seeds was for around 460 hectares for the farmers affected by the destruction of poppy plants. N. Biren Singh also appreciated people’s support and positive response to the campaign. Seeds of F1-Cabbage, quinoa, and ginger would be provided to the farmers of Kangpokpi, Chandel, Ukhrul, Tengnoupal, and Senapati as an alternative to poppy, he added.
With the vision of the Chief Minister, ‘War on Drugs’ campaign was launched to destroy the illegal poppy plantations. As a result, during 2020-21, many poppy growers were affected. To mitigate the adverse and immediate impact of poppy destruction on poor farmers, N. Biren Singh instructed the officials concerned to form an inter-departmental committee and chalk out ways to provide quality seeds as an alternative means of livelihood to the farmers. The committee recommended the distribution of quality winter seeds as alternative crops. An amount of Rs. 50 lakhs was sanctioned during 2020-21 for procurement of the same and distribute it to the farmers.