The Department of Agriculture is ready with a new program to promote natural farming; seek cabinet approval soon


The Ministry of Agriculture is ready with a new central program to promote natural farming in the country with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The proposed new natural farming regime will soon be submitted to Cabinet for approval, the official added.

The new program was designed months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the need to continue to seek alternatives to existing fertilizer and pesticide-based agriculture while addressing a national conclave on the natural farming in Gujarat last December.

Modi had also said that natural farming offers much better products without side effects.

“After several rounds of consultations with stakeholders, a draft natural farming scheme has been developed to promote natural farming with a systematic approach without disrupting existing farming systems,” the government official said. PTI.

The proposed program aims to take a complementary and bundled approach, to begin with, and will focus on intensive management of farmers practicing natural farming, product marketing and provision of extension services, among other activities, the official said. .

The aim of the scheme is not the conversion of chemical farming but the promotion of natural farming in areas where chemical farming has not yet reached. For example, chemical farming is not widely practiced in arid areas, the official said.

It can be noted that the government, in the Union Budget 2022, announced the promotion of natural agriculture without chemicals throughout the country, starting with the fields located in a 5 km corridor along the Ganges.

According to government think tank Niti Aayog, natural farming is an alias of traditional farming methods without chemicals. It is considered a diversified agricultural system based on agroecology, which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity.

In India, natural farming is promoted as the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) program under the centrally sponsored paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) program.

Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare hosted several high-level discussions with global experts on natural farming practices.

It is estimated that around 2.5 million farmers in India are already practicing regenerative agriculture. In the next five years, it is expected to grow to 20 lakh hectares – in any form of organic farming, including natural farming, of which 12 lakh hectares are under BPKP, Aayog said on his website.

The BPKP program has been adopted in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Several studies have reported the effectiveness of BPKP natural farming in terms of increased production, sustainability, saving water use, improving soil and ecosystem health of plants. farming lands. It is seen as a profitable agricultural practice with opportunities to increase employment and rural development, Aayog added.

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Posted: Tuesday March 8th 2022, 9:07 PM IST


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