Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said about 4 lakh hectare has been brought under natural farming so far as part of a sub-scheme of the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and think-tank Niti Aayog will prepare a roadmap to scale this up.
Tomar, while addressing a national workshop on innovative agriculture, said the need of the hour is to do farming that works in harmony with nature, reduces the cost of production, ensures good-quality produce and profits to farmers.
Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, parts of Haryana and Gujarat are gradually adapting to natural farming. More farmers will join after seeing the success stories, he said. Natural farming should be promoted in areas first where less or no chemicals are used in farming, he added.
According to the minister, about 38 lakh hectares have been brought under organic farming at present. About 4 lakh hectares of area is under natural farming so far as part of a sub-scheme of the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana.
A central programme is underway to certify farm fields where no chemicals are in use in areas of Nicobar and Ladakh. The centre is pursuing with states to identify such farm fields for certification, he said.
The government is working on a mission mode to promote natural farming and even include this as part of a syllabus in agri unversities, he added. Citing reasons for the need to shift to natural farming, the minister said although chemical farming — introduced during Green Revolution in the 1950s — has definitely helped in turning a food deficit nation to a surplus but this method of farming has affected soil fertiliser, water and global warming.
“Chemical farming has helped increase production but there are limitations. Farmers may earn income but they are under stress with use of higher quantity of fertilizers and water consumption,” Tomar said. Stating that the government is committed to addressing the challenges posing the farm sector, the minister said alternative methods of farming especially natural farming are being promoted because India needs to sustain agriculture as a large percentage of the country’s population is still dependent on farming for its livelihood.