Speech of Hon’ble Governor of Sikkim, Shri Shriniwas Patil on the occasion of Conference of Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers of NE State held on 29th November, 2013 at Chintan Bhavan, Gangtok.
Respected Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Sharad Pawarji, Honourable Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamlingji, Hon’ble Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Ministers of Sikkim and North Eastern States, Elected Representatives of the People, Honoured Delegates attending the Conference, Officers of the Governments of India and Government of Sikkim, Members of the Media Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. I am delighted that the Conference of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministers of North Eastern States is being organized in Sikkim. I extend my heartiest welcome to all the delegates to our beautiful State. I hope that the peace and serenity of Sikkim will help you to focus on the important issues and find ways and means to make animal husbandry and fisheries more attractive to youth and an important economic activity to our people. I am specially grateful to Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture Shri Sharad Pawarji for taking out time to visit the State and attend this conference.
2. Animal Husbandry and fisheries sector has always been very important for the people of Sikkim. Traditionally, an integrated farming pattern has been followed by our farmers, wherein small and marginal farmers take up dairy, piggery, poultry and goatery along with agriculture. This is the general practice in almost every farmstead in rural India.
3. However, keeping in view the immense potential of this sector, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has been the priority sector of our Government and several missions have been launched. The Poultry Mission, Dairy Mission and Livestock Self Sufficiency Mission being some of them. These missions have contributed in steady and gradual growth in this sector.
4. Our policy towards livestock sector has been to use it as an engine for the social and economic development of the rural population. Due to this we are witnessing a steady growth in rural household incomes, increasing rural employment opportunities and improvement in the quality of life.
5. The results have been encouraging especially with regard to milk production. We have prioritized genetic up-gradation of the indigenous livestock through breeding, induction of high yielding breeds and introduction of better genetic pool in order to increase the production. As a result, the State has a total milk production of 50,000 MT per annum. Milk procurement and processing in the organized sector like in Sikkim Milk Producers Cooperative Union varies between 15,000 to 18,000 ltrs per day, which is sufficient to meet the milk requirement of the State. Today, per capita milk availability in Sikkim is 243 grams which is very close to national average.
6. The launching of Poultry Mission has been an important milestone in the development of the poultry sector in the State today, the State has become self sufficient in broiler poultry meat. Several model poultry farms have been established in the State, which are playing a significant role in encouraging young growers to take up progressive poultry farming. The implementation of Rural Backyard Poultry Scheme in the State has also made significant improvement in the incomes of Below Poverty Line (BPL) farmers in the State.
7. A pilot project on Poultry Estate has been considered for the State of Sikkim by Government of India and I am happy that recently the same has been inaugurated. I do hope that the poultry farmers of the State will take maximum advantage from this project.
8. Similarly in the piggery sector improved breeds of pigs have been introduced in existing State farms at Gyaba,
; while under Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana( RKVY) two new pig breeding farms have been established at Assam Linzey
in East and Melli Dara
in South Sikkim.
9. Animal Health management sector is well catered to by a network of State hospital, district hospitals, sub divisional hospitals, veterinary dispensaries and stockman centres throughout the State. An effective disease prevention and surveillance programme in the State has been able to control many of epidemics. There has been no outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle since last several years and no bird flu outbreak since 2009. No incidence of Rabies has occurred in animals for the last few years period and no human rabies death since 2008.
10. I am grateful to the Government of India for the help in prevention and containment of these diseases. Since last two decades Government has taken up various programme under Animal Husbandry Sectors directly benefitting the farmers, where milching cows, piglets, goats and poultry are being distributed to farmers along with various inputs duly supplemented by capacity building to make the livelihood option more viable and sustainable.
11. To support various activities in this sector the Government has formulated capacity building programmes on scientific management practices at different level especially targeting educated unemployed youth. Every year more than 1500 nos. of farmers are imparted training on different fields under livestock sectors.
12. We are also planning to go about establishing modern abattoirs in all the districts of Sikkim, to provide hygienic meat and meat products to consumers. Besides this, the State needs to have meat processing units where surplus meat can be processed and value added for export to the consumers of neighbouring States and even neighbouring Countries.
13. In Horticultural and Agricultural Sectors, we have already made significant head-way towards organic production we need to do the same for organic Animal Husbandry.
14. We have several indigenous spices of animals like YAK
goat and SIRI
cattle, which are important components of biodiversity of this State which needs to be conserved. In this sector conservation activities are necessary so that there species are not lost to mankind. In this regard, I would like to request the Government of India to consider some feasible Schemes like AICRP on Goat, Poultry, Sheep, Yak and other species to be granted to the State.
This would provide ample opportunity to the State’s scientist and researchers to carry out valuable lab to land programmes benefitting public at large and providing employment opportunities to the people of our State.
15. In Fisheries sector, the Cold Water resources of Sikkim are congenial for trout fishery. The State has undertaken trout culture in raceways among the farmers with financial and technical assistance from National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY) and from State plan. I am happy to inform that two trout farms with hatcheries have been recently inaugurated for the production of rainbow trout seed for distribution to the farmers and replenish fish population in virgin streams and lakes. We also need all possible assistance from Government of India to make fisheries sector a viable and sustainable means of livelihood.
16. I take this opportunity to thank you for giving me an opportunity to place my views in this August gathering and wish the Conference and every one of you all the best.