Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday announced that natural farming will start in 5,200 villages of the state from June and the government will also provide Rs 900 per month to farmers for maintaining indigenous cows.
Addressing a national workshop on innovative agriculture through virtual mode, he pointed out that the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides has increased in order to boost the production of various crops.
The excessive use of chemical fertilisers has resulted in deterioration of soil health and there is a need to stop this, Chouhan said.
“If we want to protect mother earth, we will have to eliminate the use of chemicals fertilisers and pesticides,” he said.
Chouhan noted that natural farming is a good alternative and better than organic farming while emphasising creating a conducive environment as well as awareness among farmers.
He said the MP government has already set up a dedicated board and also a task force to promote natural farming.
Chouhan said the state government will also promote natural farming on both sides of the banks of the Narmada river.
“We will start natural farming in 5,200 villages from June,” the MP chief minister said, adding that the state government would also provide Rs 900 per month to farmers for keeping indigenous cows as cow dung and cow urine play an important role in natural farming.
Pointing out that around Rs 1.8 lakh crore is being provided by the Centre for fertilisers subsidy, Chouhan said there is a need to provide subsidies to farmers for the promotion of natural farming.
The MP Chief Minister highlighted that irrigation facilities have been enhanced in the state to 43 lakh hectares and the state has become the biggest wheat producer in the country. The procurement of wheat has also been enhanced.
Speaking at the event, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said farmers transiting to natural farming need to be encouraged and motivated through pro-active policy by the central government.
Such farmers should be awarded as they are avoiding subsidies on fertiliser subsidies, he added.
“I would like to request states who are having larger area under natural farming should be given higher weightage in the Finance Commisison’s recommendation as well. These states are helping the country in achieving climate change mitigation goals and carbon neutrality goals as well,” Reddy said.
The certification process for natural farming should be farmer friendly.
Reddy said the funding for state governments in transiting to natural farming should be liberal and suggested that the funding should be in ratio of 90:10 in the central schemes.
The Andhra Pradesh CM noted that there has been significant increase in the country’s foodgrains production after the green revolution, but now there is a dire need to improve quality of farm produce in order to keep our society healthy by reducing the use of chemical fertilisers.
He said the natural farming is a critical innovation for improving livelihood of farmers and also for ensuring food as well as nutritional security.
Reddy said natural farming helps in regenerating soil and enhancing water conservation, besides many other eco-friendly benefits.
The Andhra Pradesh CM highlighted that his state is at the forefront of this evergreen revolution to secure the lives and livelihoods of not only the present generation but the future generation as well.
In 2021-22, Reddy said 6,30,000 farmers were enrolled for cultivating 2.9 lakh hectares into natural farming. This is around 5 per cent of the total cultivable 64 lakh hectares area in the state. A separate department has been created for natural farming.
He noted that the transition from chemical farming to natural farming will happen voluntarily and gradually. “We are not looking at sudden withdrawal of chemical fertilisers”.
Reddy pointed out that the conversion into natural farming is not an “easy task” but said “we are convinced that this is the most important transformation in agriculture. It should be done in a phased manner”.
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Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami highlighted that the climate is suitable for natural farming in the state. He expressed concern over the usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
He said the state government is making efforts to strike a balance between economy and ecology.
The chief minister spoke about different schemes run by the state government to promote natural farming. A task force will be created to further promote such farming practice.