"Mizoram has never been declared organic state"

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Aizawl, Mar 18 (UNI) State Agriculture Minister H Rammawi today clarified before the state Assembly that Mizoram has never been declared an organic state.

The minister's statement stunned Congress legislator Lalrinliana Sailo, who had asked why the government still purchased chemical fertilisers despite Mizoram being declared an organic state about two years back.

''Mizoram being termed as an organic state is apparently due to a misinformation. Mizoram is only the first Indian state to have passed the Act (the Mizoram Organic Act 2005),'' Mr Rammawi said and added, ''The Act is being implemented in area-wise.'' The original question that led to this statement came from former finance minister and Mizoram People's Conference Group leader Lalhmingthanga, who was doubtful that jatropha cultivation undertaken by the agriculture department would bear fruits.

It is certain that the state government has applied a trial and error method in agriculture since the time of the district council, he stated and asked, ''Has it been proven the viability of the jatropha plants for Mizoram in terms of market?'' Given the growing global need for bio-fuel, especially with the decrease in crude oil resources,'' Mr Rammawi said, ''Jatropha plants are market-friendly.

Bio-scientists have identified Mizoram as a suitable place for cultivation of bio-fuel plants.

Mr Lalhmingthanga had said some jatropha farmers in Lunglei had found jatropha to be very unproductive.

In response to this, the minister informed the House that they were applying pruning methods for improving its productivity and training the farmers to do so.

The minister, however, did not deny that huge quantity of jatropha seeds that had distributed to selected farmers went astray.

''I have discovered that many farmers sold the seeds to neighbouring states of Manipur and Myanmar,'' he stated.

The Opposition MLAs were apprehensive about "making easy money" in the process of supplying seeds from past experiences.

UNI ZS LL DB1711

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