Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat has stressed the need for adopting natural farming for augmenting the income of farmers. The organic farming concept is gaining prominence in India not only in the farming community, but also among the city dwellers as we can see a lot of individuals venturing into this field. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved. According to the World of Organic Agriculture 2018 report, our country is home to 30 per cent of the total organic producers in the world, but accounts for just 2.59 per cent (1.5 million hectares) of the total organic cultivation area of 57.8 million hectares. No doubt, today, farmers have started adopting organic farming practices and are reaping more benefits; the more organic and natural the produce, the safer and healthier it is for us and for the environment.
What we need is to educate the farmers that when we are talking on yield drop by 30% with organic cultivation but when we compare this with chemical inputs technology investments, the resulting benefits from organic technology are superior.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the workshop for intensive natural farming with detailed information and guidelines has been organized by the State Government by Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) in collaboration with Agricultural Farmers’ Welfare and Cooperation Departments Governor Devvrat said that he can say from his own experience as a farmer that chemical farming has polluted water, land, environment and food crops, besides increasing the incidence of serious diseases due to improper eating and drinking habit. Man started living on the earth with simple farming methods. It is a myth to Gujarat state now that agriculture without chemical farming is not possible.
Once the farmers switch over to organic farming they will realize that soils rich in organic matter produce more nutritious food with higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Padma Shri Subhash Palekar the originator of Zero Budget Natural Farming has described natural farming as the best method as answer to global farming, climate change, food insecurity, diseases, rural exodus and urban pull, natural disasters and ill-effects of mechanization.
Now when Gujarat having become the ninth state in India to declare a policy for organic farming with a promise of offering a subsidy to those engaged in organic agriculture, it is likely that more and more farmers will take to sustainable farming in the near future.
The real challenge with us is to encourage farmers towards organic farming. It is observed that the traditional farmers do not look up to the organic farmers as they believe that only financially secure farmers can go organic. Further they are also of the opinion that the time period to gain actual profit margins from organic farming takes at least three years of time and a small farmer cannot sustain till then with his limited income. We need to spread awareness among the consumers to buy organic produce and put it for comparison. Once the farmers knew that they will get a guaranteed income, they were also ready to experiment and we can make them farming environment friendly.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)