Agri Business

Natural farming set to get a policy push

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 30, 2020 Published on September 30, 2020

Good days ahead A farm labourer harvests paddy in a field in Punjab’s Ropar district, on Tuesday   -  PTI

The government is exploring ways and means to promote natural farming in the country, with the NITI Aayog holding a high-level consultation to develop a systematic approach for adopting and implementing eco-friendly farming.

Natural farming is said to have several socioeconomic and environmental benefits for boosting farmers’ welfare, consumer health, food security and nutrition.

Participating in the meet, organised over Tuesday and Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Ministry has set aside funds to propagate natural farming. He also said proposals for talking up natural farming have been received from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala and are under active consideration.

Similarly, Gujarat plans to bring about 112 lakh hectares under natural farming over the next five years, said State Governor Acharya Devvrat, who participated in the consultation. As of now, approximately 1.20 lakh farmers in Gujarat adopted natural farming during the ongoing kharif season and another 5.50 lakh farmers have evinced interest in the practice.

According to Devvrat, the method has many benefits — the input cost in natural farming tends to be ‘zero’ and the requirement of irrigation is reduced to 60-70 per cent, with an increase in organic carbon level from 0.5 to 0.9.

The marketing of such produce faces no constraints, as it can command a premium price, he said.

Applauding the efforts of the Agriculture Ministry in publicising the beneficial aspects of natural farming, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Raijv Kumar said currently, the acceptance and adoption of the practice is still in a transitionary stage.

NITI Aayog Member (Agriculture) Ramesh Chand said that the issues relating to the creation of a new policy environment, product identity, value chain and marketing would be taken care of as a future course of action.

Apart from developing a systematic approach to help adopt natural farming at farm level, the consultation was meant to identify an extension-cum-training programme to be taken up by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research through Krishi Vigyan Kendras, State agriculture departments and others, and develop a document on success stories/best practices, with the scientific background required to manage crop health and production.

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Published on September 30, 2020
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