Integrated Organic Farming System Improves Income and Livelihood Security in Sikkim
Shri Nim Tshering Lepcha, resident of Lower Nandok under 26 Naitam-Nandok GPU, East Sikkim had been practicing traditional agriculture in his 2 ha land as the only means of livelihood. Despite hard labour, the farm productivity was low and income was not satisfactory. But the interventions during last three years (2013-16) by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Ranipool, East Sikkim have transformed his socio-economic status.
Organic farming technological backup by ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre made developmental interventions by providing training, on field demonstrations and input support. Various inputs/interventions were provided under National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) with the purpose of reorienting his traditional farming into integrated organic farming system (IOFS) to increase the farm income. Major among these are Agri-polythene sheets (250 GSM) for the purpose of making Jalkund, micro-rain water harvesting structure; low cost plastic tunnels (transparent UV stabilized sheet of 45 GSM) for sequential vegetable cultivation, garden pea (TSX-10) under zero-till in rice-fallow rotation, cultivation of improved maize line RCM 1-1 and improved rice line RCM-10, backyard poultry production with Vanaraja and Hybrid Napier cultivation as fodder grass on terrace risers. Scientific management practices of fisheries with Grass carp and Common carp, milk cow crossbred Jersey and large cardamom cultivars Sawney and Varlangey were also introduced. Vegetables viz., cabbage var. Rare Ball, cauliflower var. Suhasini, broccoli var. Everest, tomato var. Arka Samrat, coriander var. Super Midori, spinach var. All Green, radish var. Chinese White were sequentially cultivated under low cost plastic tunnels. Jalkund, a life saving water reservoir designed with dimensions of 5 m x 4 m x 1.5 m (capacity of 30,000 l.) proved to be an indispensable tool in meeting the water requirement of crops through gravitational sprinkler irrigation system and encouraged the farmer to opt for diversification of the integrated organic farming system.