By Khagendramani Pradhan : Dal Bahadur Khadiwada, a cardamom farmer from Dalapchand in East Sikkim could not believe his eyes as his large cardamom fetched ‘ 971 per kg during the auction organized by North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC). The rate he fetched was much higher than the prevailing market rate or that being offered by the local traders.
Now he swears that all his produce will find a way to market through NERMAC only. He also has vowed to now motivate his fellow villagers and neighbors to sell their agricultural produces like ginger and hill broom along with the large cardamom through this agency only.
With the first successful holding of large cardamom auction and good response from the crop growers, NERAMAC has decided to hold it regularly on fortnightly basis, bringing national and international level exporters at the doorstep. And with every pod of large cardamom reaching the market after going under the hammer, the officials believe would ensure competitive prices for the products.
Established to provide marketing accessibility to the farming community through healthy marketing system and ensuring safeguard of the farmer’s interest, NERAMAC, a Government of India enterprise under the Ministry of DoNER, has since the establishment of its zonal office in Tadong, been relentlessly trying to reach its message to the farmers of the State.
Realizing the marketing divide being faced by the farmers of Sikkim, NERMAC has taken up marketing program to procure agro-horticultural produces from the farmers, Self Help Groups, Multipurpose Cooperative Societies and Gram Panchayat units directly. With this initiative, NERMAC believes would free the farmers from the clutches of unscrupulous traders and middlemen and guarantee premium price to the farmers.
To assure the farmers, it has already established collection centres for agri-horticultural produces at Naya Bazar in West Sikkim and Rangpo in East Sikkim as well a sale centre at Siliguri Wholesale Regulated Market for orange and ginger growers of Sikkim. Further it has planned to establish procurement and grading-packaging centres in all the four districts as well.
With focus on maximizing the procurement of surplus produces of hill mandarin, ginger, large cardamom, hill broom, turmeric, red pepper chilli and minor forest produces, it has set a target of procuring more than 35 lakh pieces of hill mandarin, 200 metric ton, 100 metric ton of hill broom and 35 metric ton of fresh vegetables for the current year.
Besides providing marketing support to the farmers, NERAMAC is also actively involved in different capacity building programs designed to bring entrepreneurship in food preservation, processing and marketing with the technical backup from reputed Institutes and Universities in the trade. And with a mission of the State Government to make Sikkim completely organic by 2015, NERAMAC has also proposed to provide facilities for Certification and Adoption of organic produces.
Established with an objective to make necessary arrangement for marketing and processing of marketable surplus of agri-horticultural produces from the growers of North East and Sikkim, setting up of its zonal office in Sikkim has been viewed to ensure that every gram of marketable surplus will have to benefit the farmers and growers at large.
Apart from these, NERAMAC is also playing pivotal role in supplying of horticultural inputs, construction of Hi-Tech Green House, supplying of improved seeds, tools and technology, organic fertilizers and vermin compost to the State Horticulture Department