The Himachal Pradesh government is contemplating to cover all 9.61 lakh families of farmers in Himachal Pradesh under natural farming by the year 2022.
This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the Apex State Level Committee for monitoring of ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan’ Yojna here on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister said that natural farming is a paradigm shift from traditional farming which involves various cropping inputs. He said that continuous use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers has increased the yield of crops, but has triggered negative impact on soil as well as environment.
He said that natural farming is about natural growth of various crops without use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Thakur said that during his first budget for the year 2018- 19, he had allocated Rs 25 crore for promotion of natural farming in the state. He said that the scheme envisages to increase farm income in harmony with nature with no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. He said that since agriculture plays a significant role in the economy of the state with over 67 percent population directly depending on agriculture.
The Chief Minister said that natural farming not only helps in providing hygienic and chemical free fruit and vegetable to the farmers, but also gives remunerative prices for their produce.
He said that the state government had set a target of covering 50,000 families under natural farming in the state during the year 2019 but succeeded in covering about 55,000 families.
He said that target has been fixed to cover 2 lakh farmer families under natural farming during current year.
He said that out of total 3226 Panchayats in the state, 2934 Panchayats have been covered under Subhash Palekar Natural Farming.
Thakur said that appropriate training was also being provided to the farmers regarding natural farming. He said that as many as 72193 farmers have been trained for natural farming during the year 2019-20 against the target of 50,000 farmers. He said that about 2000 training camps were organized during 2019-20.
The Chief Minister said since actual training camps were not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular video camps and awareness campaigns through social media were conducted to motivate the farmers to adopt natural farming. He said that personal contact with trained farmers and meeting with small groups of farmers adopting natural farming were also held during this period. He said that the state government would also consider providing a separate market place for farmers to facilitate them in selling their natural produce.