An effective mechanism would be developed in Himachal Pradesh to ensure proper marketing and certification of natural farm products so that the farmers could get better prices for their produce.

This was said by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while addressing a high-level meeting on ‘Sustainable Food Systems Mechanism’ in Himachal Pradesh under Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojna here on Tuesday.

Thakur said that steps must also be taken to create a proper demand and marketing of natural farming. He said that this would create a demand for natural products and will motivate the farmers to adopt natural farming.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to double the income of the farmers by the year 2022 and natural farming could go a long way in achieving this target. The chief minister said that it was in the very first budget of the present State Government that a provision of Rs. 25 crore was made to promote natural farming in the state. He said that natural farming has made agriculture a lucrative avocation for the youth of the State who earlier were leaving the state to get better employment opportunities and to earn their livelihood. He said that earlier the farmers of the state were reluctant in adopting natural farming as they feared fall in production.

But now the farmers were showing great interest in adopting natural farming, he added. He said that agriculture sector has proved a major booster to sustain the rural economy even during the corona pandemic.

The chief minister also released Handbook of FAOINRAe on ‘Enabling Sustainable Food System’ on the occasion. Agriculture, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar said that natural farming has ensured better price to the farmers, besides being good for health and environment.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi said that the concern of farmers was first articulated by the Prime Minister when he envisioned doubling the farm income by 2022. He said that it was possible only either farmers go for reckless use of chemical fertilizers or go for natural farming to fetch better price of their produce.

Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture Nisha Singh, while welcoming the Chief Minister and other dignitaries, said that natural farming has potential to transform the economy of the farmers as it fetches good price.

FAO Representative in India Tomio Schichri said that the handbook lays stress on preservation and conservation of local crops. He said that Himachal Pradesh and Japan were similar in many respects as both have diverse culture and landscape.

Deputy Director Interdisciplinary Laboratory Science, Innovation and Society, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAe), France Dr. Allison Loconto while addressing the meeting from France said that natural farming was not only good for the environment but equally beneficial for the human health. She said that better cooperation must be ensured at local level to promote natural farming.