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Natural farming will double income of farmers: HP Guv

Shimla, Aug 8 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Dev Vrat on Wednesday urged the farm community and agri-scientists to shun their old perceptions and adopt the model of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) whole-heartedly, which would be helpful in changing the present system of chemical farming.
The Governor was speaking as a chief guest in a conference on Zero Budget Natural Farming, organised by Agriculture Department at Peterhoff Shimla, here.
More than 430 officers of agriculture department and farmers of all districts of the state attended the conference.
Mr Vrat said he had a meeting with NITI Aayog recently and it was a matter of satisfaction that they had admitted that only ZBNF could double the income of farmers and without it, ''We could not think to save our farm community''.
He appreciated the vision and determination of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for taking initiative to implement natural farming in the state and making a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore in the first instance.
''The Chief Minister has accepted the reality and taking interest by providing all assistance in implementing natural farming in the state.
''Time has come to change our mind set and execute ZBNF on the ground, instead of doing meetings,'' the Governor added.
He said that six big camps on natural farming have been organised in different parts of the state during this year and farmers had participated in them in a large number, which shows that the farming community was enthusiastic about it.
Mr Vrat urged to organise more such camps in the state and also to associate every Panchayat with it, so that they could be benefited.
The Governor said that a campaign was running in the country to double the income of farmers, as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but unfortunately, ''Our scientists, who recommended chemical farming, were unable to provide solution in this regard.
Although, lakhs of farmers in Andhara Pradesh and our Gurukul Farms in Kurukshetra showed tremendous growth and income up to three fold after adopting natural farming, said the Governor and added that only reason of this transformation was that they had adopted this model honestly.
The Governor said that the past practice of chemical farming and organic farming was not fit in the present context.
"As far as chemical farming is concerned, the products so produced are harmful and poisonous and also costly. Similarly, cost of production in organic farming is high and it absorbs more essential nutrients from soil, therefore, zero budget natural farming is the best alternative for farming,'' he said, adding that side effects of chemical farming could be dealt with natural farming.
The Governor detailed out various reasons and merits of adopting natural farming and latest reports and recommendation of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research and Agriculture University, Hisar, which was favourable.
He detailed the report and figures of Agriculture University Hisar on Gurukul, Kurukshetra land and said that organic carbon reached at 1.12 in some parts and 30 percent increase of organic carbon during one year, as per the report. The results of this method are encouraging and there has been a surprising change in the fields, Mr Vrat pointed out.
The Governor said that zero budget natural farming was the only solution to save farmers and double their income. Under this system, farmers need not have to spend even a single penny, but get more benefits such as rejuvenate the barren land, minimum use of water, save production for health and save the environment.
He urged the farmers to rear Indian breed cow to adopt natural farming, apart from introducing indigenous breed of cow like Sahiwal, Lal Sindhi and Dhar Parkar in the state.
The Governor and the Chief Minister also released Himachal Pradesh Vision: 2022, brought out by the Agriculture department, on the occasion.
Mr Thakur said on the occasion that about 90 per cent population lives in rural areas of the state and their main source of livelihood was farming. He said since time immemorial, farmers have adopted various practices and techniques to increase their corp production.
But to increase crop production, the ryots have started using chemical fertilisers and fungicides on large scale, he added.
Mr Thakur said that overdose of fertilisers resulted in soil degradation and rendered fields barren. He said these chemicals also adversely affected health of people as most of the fruits, vegetables and cereals have high contents of harmful chemicals.
He said the state government was now ensuring effective promotion of natural farming. A budget provision of Rs 25 crore has been made for promotion of zero budget natural farming in the state, he added.
The Chief Minister said that collective efforts were required to make Himachal Pradesh a Natural Farming State of the country. He said the zero budget natural farming would not only ensure healthy food and fruits to people, but also strengthen the economy of farmers. He also laid stress on promotion of indigenous cattle breed for ensuring effective zero budget natural farming.
Padamshree Subhash Palekar, the originator of ZBNF, said the government of Himachal Pradesh took the right decision at the right time by implementing natural farming in the state, thus saving the farm community, as well as people at large.
He assured to provide assistance in this regard and said that other line departments like animal husbandry and horticulture should also associate with it.
Dr Palekar also detailed about ZBNF and said that chemical farming was mere a technology and not a natural process, whereas natural farming was science and it needed no external support. He said the only thing required, was to follow it.
Agriculture Minister Dr Ram Lal Markanda said in order to bring diversification in farm activities of the state, concerned efforts were being made, adding that to encourage farmers to adopt natural farming, camps were being organised and many were coming forward to adopt the same.
UNI ML RJ 1812
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