Governor Bandaru Dattatraya has called upon the farmers to contribute to making Himachal a natural farming state by taking advantage of the “Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan” scheme of the state government.

The Governor was presiding over the Uttam Kisan Sammelan and workshop under the “Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan” Yojana at State Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute, Mashobra on Thursday. Around 250 farmers of 32 development blocks from seven districts participated in this workshop.

He said that agriculture and allied sectors had a significant contribution in the economy of Himachal and contribute about 10 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product. He added that a 5.42 lakh hectare area was being cultivated in the state.

The “Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan” scheme being implemented by the state government has yielded good results. Under the scheme, the target of training 50,000 farmers was set in this financial year, out of which 42,000 have been trained, which confirm that a large number of farmers were coming forward to adopt it.

Dattatraya said that under the scheme, a budget of Rs 19.03 crore had been allocated in the year 2019-20. During this period, it was targeted to conduct 1600 training programmes, out of which 1200 training programs had been conducted. The biggest achievement was that 2669 farmers were engaged in natural farming. He said that, under the scheme, 1155 hectare and 2541 panchayats had been brought under the scheme.

“India lives in the village and village means farmer. The natural farming method will prove to be effective for doubling and empowering farmers’ income”, said the Governor. He appealed to bring more awareness in this direction and organize Kisan Sammelan. The Governor held discussions with farmers of the state on natural farming.

Agriculture Minister Dr Ram Lal Markanda said that Subhash Palekar natural farming scheme under Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana had been started in the state two years back and encouraging results were coming out of it. He said that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had shown enthusiasm to implement this project which was being executed extensively in the state. Himachal would be the first state in the country to adopt natural farming. He hoped that Himachal would become a fully natural agricultural state by the year 2022.

He said that the Indian breed cow was the main component of natural farming, so farmers were being given a maximum of 50 per cent subsidy to purchase the cow. Besides, resource stores were also being opened to provide an exchange to farmers who could not rear cows. He said that marketing for natural products was being arranged and outlets were also being opened at many places.

State Project Director, Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF) Rakesh Kanwar said that chemical farming was being practiced for last 20 years and promoting it at all levels. The farmers were adopting natural farming at their own level and supplementing the efforts of the state government. He said that the Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister themselves were monitoring all activities related to the SPNP in the state. He said that not only in India but other countries like France, Norway, Finland etc were minimising the use of chemical fertilizers and European Union also has released advisory to trim down the use of chemical fertilizers.

Executive Director of SPNF, Dr Rajeshwar Chandel detailed the aspects of natural farming. He also detailed the development of Subhash Palekar Natural Farming in the State through a powerpoint presentation. Director, Agriculture R.K. Kaundal, proposed a vote of thanks.