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Farmers should switch to organic farming-Part I

Organic farmingKudos to the Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat who has successfully popularized and launched organic farming in the state of Haryana  and has motivated over 50,000 farmers to adopt organic technique. As a Governor he is associated with this innovative idea of the Zero Budget Natural Farming project with the motive that farmers of the state can adopt organic farming, in Gujarat state too, he has already implemented his dream project of organic farming. Acharya rightly said that natural farming was a zero budget occupation and was based on the use of cow dung in agriculture.  It preserves land fertility, saves water and helps reduce global warming.

Acharya was always poised for a role in the bigger state, which is primarily due to the faith reposed in him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who has appreciated his relentless efforts to popularise organic farming and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. According to the Governor, Zero Budget Natural Farming programme is related to a set of natural farming methods, under which the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. Acharya has always tried to interact with farmers and informs them about the programme which involves almost no monetary investment and envisages the use of ‘Jeevamrutha’ and ‘Beejamrutha’ (sources of beneficial bacteria). Here ‘Zero Budget’ refers to zero net cost of production of all crops, which means that farmers are not required to buy fertilisers and pesticides to ensure the healthy growth of crops. It will take time, but Gujarat is committed to increase the spread of organic farming through systematic planning.

Subhash Palekar a Padmashree righty says “If we really want to prevent farmer suicides, we have to adopt Zero-Budget organic farming. We need to have mass movement to promote low-cost organic farming.” Today, for promoting organic farming, state government has taken steps like setting up of a cell to implement its new organic farming policy. Farmers should now switch to organic farming and its ways from conventional method of farming. Many farmers are apprehensive about adopting organic farming due to the high production cost and the three-year transition period when farmers have to wait before getting their farms certified. There are who are talking on yield drop by 30 per cent with organic cultivation but when we compare this with chemical inputs technology investments, the resulting benefits from organic technology is superior. Even though the costs upfront seem to be high, overtime organic farming becomes cheaper as it doesn’t require expensive artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides and GM seeds. It is fact that though there is lower yield, these farms are more profitable and environmentally friendly, provide several ecosystem services, numerous social benefits and deliver nutritious foods with relatively less pesticide residues compared to conventional farming. Earlier we used to guide farmers by telling them to use chemical fertilizers but now there is a strong need to inform them to use organic ways of farming. Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. Today, consumers purchase organic foods for many different reasons. There are many who want to buy food products that are free of chemical pesticides or grown without conventional fertilizers. Some simply like to try new and different products. Product taste, concerns for the environment and the desire to avoid foods from genetically engineered organisms are among the many other reasons some consumers prefer to buy organic food products.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)Help Parallel Media, Support Journalism, Free Press, Afternoon Voice

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