Boon to farmers: Organic farming method will help improve the quality of land and reduce air and water pollution.
MUMBAI, FEB. 1:
To encourage organic farming in Maharashtra, the State Government has formulated a special policy for the sector. The policy has devised a roadmap for developing the whole value chain — from the farm gate to the consumer.
The policy has defined organic farming as an integrated method, which uses local natural resources for farming and which rejects the use of chemicals for cultivation. Such a farming method will help improve the quality of land and reduce air and water pollution.
In Maharashtra, about 200 lakh hectares is under cultivation. Over the last 15 years, a number of farmers’ groups have been practising organic farming techniques. The total area under organic farming is still small, but it is growing steadily due to remunerative prices of such farms products in the metropolitan area.
Agriculture Commissioner of Maharashtra Umakant Dangat told Business Linethat the policy has set an aim of converting 10 per cent of the total farmland to organic farms, and 25 per cent of the farm lands to use some agronomic practices of organic farming. The policy has not set out any milestones, but in the next five years, it wants to get the maximum area covered under this framing method, he said.
He said for implementing organic farming methods across the State, not much capital is required. The farmers need to be made aware of these methods, which their forefathers use to practice.
“In fact, by using organic farming methods, farmers can save money and not have to shell out for fertilisers and pesticides. If they convert farm waste into manure, their cost of cultivation can also be controlled,” Dangat said.
The policy is aiming to develop organic food safety standards, which are in sync with international ones. Incentives would be given for industries setting up units for processing, packaging and temperature controlled warehouses for organic foods. It also wants to develop a marketing infrastructure for such products.
Agriculture expert Raosaheb Pujari said awareness among farmers has been on the rise. Farmers know that chemicals are harmful for crops for personal consumption are grown using organic methods, “But a farmer’s land is now conditioned to chemicals. The farmer cannot switch overnight to organic methods, because his farm yield will take a hit,” he said.
“Today, a higher price for organic products and marketing infrastructure is the need of the hour. Only then, organic farming will be successful,” Pujari said.
Organic Farming Policy (Hindi version) download
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that farmers of organic farming products should get proper prices. There should be a proper arrangement for branding and marketing or organic farming products and efforts are being made in this connection. These views were expressed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while addressing a State-level symposium on ‘Role of youth in making agriculture profitable through organic farming’ at Samanvay Bhavan here on Thursday.
Those present on the occasion included Farmers’ Welfare and Agriculture Development Minister Ramkrishna Kusmaria, agricultural scientist Piyush Bhargava, journalist Devendra Sharma, environmentalist Vandana Shiva and Bharat Pathak of Deendayal Shodh Sansthan.
The Chief Minister said that Madhya Pradesh has a rich tradition of organic farming. The cultivation is undertaken in tribal and hilly areas mainly through organic method. He said that an Organic Farming Policy is being chalked out with a view to attract farmers towards organic farming and making proper arrangements for providing assistance and cooperation.
Chouhan said that the State Government is making efforts to ensure coordination and contact with the experts from various regions. Suggestions have been invited from agricultural experts, researchers and farmers to be incorporated in the organic policy.
He further said that agriculture is the backbone of economy. Making agriculture profitable is one of the seven resolves of the State Government. Madhya Pradesh is the only State in the country where Rs 100 per quintal bonus is being given to farmers on wheat procurement on support price. Farmers will get loans at the rate of only one per cent from this year. An arrangement for fixing minimum support price for the purchase of lac and chironji has been made so that collectors of forest produce get proper prices. Initially, two forest products have been covered under the scheme and their number will be increased.
Chouhan said that besides agriculture, efforts are also being made to increase the production in auxiliary trades like animal husbandry, horticulture etc. Chief Minister asked the Agriculture Minister to include the meaningful suggestions that come up at the symposium in the draft of the organic policy.
Regional organising secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad Vishnu Dutt Sharma threw light on the objectives of the symposium. At the programme, a book on Nanaji Model for Making Agriculture Profitable was also released.