To promote natural farming across the country, the Centre has launched the National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) by upscaling the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) scheme.
“In order to involve more farmers and enhance the reach of natural farming on a larger scale, the Government has formulated National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) by upscaling the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) to promote natural farming across the country. NMNF will cover 7.5 lakh hectare area by developing 15,000 clusters in the next four years with a total budget outlay of ₹1,584 crore (Centre’s share),” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha on March 14.
With NMNF, the government proposes to touch one crore farmers along the Ganga belt and in other rainfed parts of the country, he added.
Under NMNF, farmers will receive a financial assistance of ₹15,000 per hectare per year for three years for the creation of on-farm input production infrastructure. The operational guidelines state that incentives would be provided to farmers only when they commit to natural farming and have actually taken it up. If a farmer defaults or does not continue with natural farming, subsequent instalments shall not be disbursed.
The BPKP, a sub-scheme under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), had provided financial assistance of ₹12,200 per hectare for three years for cluster formation, capacity building and continuous hand-holding. Additionally, an assistance of ₹8,800 per hectare for three years was allowed from PKVY funds for marketing, value addition and publicity of natural farming products.
The NMNF guidelines say that farmers willing to implement natural farming on their field will be registered as cluster members — each cluster shall comprise 50 farmers or more with 50 hectare land. Also, each cluster can fall in one village or spread across 2-3 nearby villages under the same gram panchayat.
Tomar also said that a web portal (naturalfarming.dac.gov.in) has been launched for the promotion of natural farming with information on the implementation framework, resources, implementation progress, farmer’s registration, blog, and so on. The agriculture ministry is undertaking large-scale training of master trainers, ‘champion’ farmers and practising farmers in the techniques of natural farming through the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) and National Centre of Organic and Natural Farming (NCONF), he said. Already 997 training programmes have been conducted, covering 56,952 gram pradhans, he added.
The minister further said that the Centre intends to set up 15,000 Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-inputs Resources Centres (BRCs) to provide easy access to bio-resources like Jeevamrit, Ghana Jeevamrit and neemastra, wherein cow dung and urine, neem and bioculture play an important role. At a recent meeting with Niti Aayog, representatives of cow shelters wanted their units to be designated as BRCs as they form the backbone of the value chain in the production and distribution of bio fertilisers.
These bio-input resource centres would be set up alongside the proposed 15,000 model clusters of natural farming. These BRCs would create a national-level distribution network for micro-fertilisers and pesticides, with each BRC responsible for one cluster under NMNF.
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