Sikkim eyeing local and international mkts for floriculture, organic products

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Dec 23 | Updated: Dec 24 2007, 05:53am hrs
Sikkim has geared up to market its floriculture and organic food, within the country and abroad. It is scheduled to host the three-day International FloriShow in Saramsha Garden in Gangtok beginning March 14, 2008, in collaboration with central government agencies and the Media Today group. Representatives from about 30 countries, including Holland, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Korea are likely to participate in the event.

With a view to promote Sikkim within the country, an exclusive outlet was recently inaugurated in Pamposh Enclave in Delhi , last week. Sikkim has a competitive advantage for its organic produces, medicinal herbs, fruits, and vegetables, which are peculiar to the region. We have launched the process of certification of organic areas and by 2012, Sikkim would be declared as the first organic state in the country, said the chief minister, Pawan Chamling.

He identified eco-tourism, hydel power, horticulture as priority sectors, and asked the central government to help in road and railway connectivity, which would boost trade with China through the Nathu La pass. He suggested border trade with Nepal through the Chewa-Bhanjyang check post and with Bhutan through Rhenock. Sikkim has begun documenting its biodiversity resources and traditional knowledge, and would opt for geographical indications for some of its deserving items, he said.

The several micro-climate zones in the state have made it a biodiversity hotspot. Out of 4,500 species of flowering plants, about 600 are orchid species, 36 rhododendrons species, 60 primulae species, 16 conifers species, 23 bamboo species, 362 ferns and allies, 8 tree ferns, 60 primulas, 11 oaks, and over 424 medicinal plants. The forests are rich in faunal diversity, with over 150 mammals, 552 birds, 48 fishes, and over 690 butterflies.

Out of 600 orchid species grown, 300 are Sikkims natural species. Exotic flowers like roses, lillium, anthurium, and gladiolus are grown. The state has its own varieties of large cardamom, ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cherry pepper. Temi tea is a hot favourite the world over, and alpine Gouda cheese is an important item of export.