Suman Agarwal The VOS
Gangtok, 01 April : Today, Day 01 of the non-organic agricultural produce ban in the state received mixed reactions from traders, farmers and consumers alike.
Although the general public and the business community fully recognizes the significance and supports the praise worthy ‘Organic Mission’ of the State Government, apprehension and fear also looms large amongst the people as to whether or not the state will be able to sustain on its own.
Though the State Government has been relentless in its efforts to create awareness regarding the benefits of organic farming in a bid to encourage the farmers to take up organic farming to boost vegetable and fruit production to meet the demands of the state, leading to the state becoming self-sufficient, but with a population of about seven lakh and with tourists flocking to the popular tourist destination ever year in large numbers, the task is surely a daunting one.
Traders and business community are still apprehensive about the decision and feel that most vegetables and fruits will soon be in short supply.
“We had brought vegetables from Siliguri yesterday which will last for another day or two. But we are not sure what will happen after that. Produce from local farmers alone is not sufficient enough to meet the demand,” stated a vegetable wholesaler from Lal Bazaar.
While another wholesaler said, “We fully support the government’s initiative and will sell only local organic vegetables henceforth. We are also sure that there will be no problems in supply of organic vegetables as the government is trying its best to boost production.”
Meanwhile, the farmers have expressed their happiness on the decision.
“The decision to ban non-organic vegetables is a welcoming one as it will lead to more demand of our organic produce which will fetch good price now. Previously, there were very few takers of our organic produce as the prices were slightly high as compared to the vegetables being brought from Siliguri but now our produce will have more demand,’ stated a farmer.
The consumers on the other hand are both pleased and apprehensive about the decision.
While some expressed happiness, others frowned at the high price of the organic vegetables.
“The decision is a good initiative by the government as it will benefit the local farmers and will also have a positive impact on the health of the people. Though we may face some hurdles in the beginning, but in the long run it will definitely prove to be a beneficial,” stated a consumer.
“Almost all the vegetable rates have been doubled as compared to yesterday. Cauliflower was being sold at Rs. 50 per kilo till yesterday whereas today I bought it for Rs. 100.How will the common people survive,” stated one Mani Chettri.
“On the hindsight, non- organic may be sold as organic at high price rates. Does the state government have enough resources and mechanism to implement the ban and whether the customers are smart enough to distinguish between organic and non-organic produces?” questioned S.K. Singh