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Natural farming: HP farmers to train their counterparts in other states

Acharya Devvrat said Himachal Pradesh had taken the lead in the entire country in natural farming and lauded the Himachal model of natural farming.

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

Himachal Pradesh farmers, who have scripted success stories in natural farming over the last three years and are fully adept in this non-chemical, low cost, and climate-resilient technique, will shortly be sent as ‘master trainers’ to train farmers in other states of the country.

This was disclosed by Gujarat Governor, Acharya Devvrat at the ‘Prakritik Kheti Utkrisht Kisan Sammelan’ organized by Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y) here on Thursday.

Acharya Devvrat said Himachal Pradesh had taken the lead in the entire country in natural farming and lauded the Himachal model of natural farming. “The Prime Minister has announced that natural farming would be promoted in the entire country in the interest of farmers and farming. For this, the farmers of Himachal Pradesh would be prepared as resource persons for training farmers in other states,” he said.

Devvrat asked the PK3Y officials to devise a course for such farmers who will go out of state as ‘master trainers’ so that they know each and every detail of the technique, the preparation of farm inputs, and the related issues and can answer the questions raised by others in the field effectively and convincingly.

He appreciated Himachal Chief Minister, Agriculture Minister, and other officers associated with natural farming in the state and particularly mentioned that State Project Director and Secretary, Agriculture, Rakesh Kanwar, and Executive Director of PK3Y, Professor Rajeshwar Chandel, who is now Vice-Chancellor of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan have shown exemplary commitment to make natural farming a success in Himachal.

“I had started the campaign for natural farming and had motivated farmers when I was Governor here. When I left the state to take over as Governor of Gujarat, 50,000 farmers were in natural farming. After that, more than 1.20 lakh more farmers have taken up this technique in the state, which is very good progress,” he said.

Acharya Devvrat said chemical farming is responsible for climate change to the extent of 24 percent. “If we adopt the chemical-free technique of natural farming, it will help preserve the environment and agriculture for future generations. It will also check various diseases, whose incidence is increasing due to the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” he said.

He said the demand for natural products has increased after the Covid-19 pandemic and people are now aware of the value of nutrition-rich chemical-free food. He said the farmers should adopt natural farming techniques with honesty so that they are able to provide nutrition-rich chemical-free produce to the consumers.

He said the time has come when the farmers of Himachal Pradesh should try to build up faith as ‘family farmers’ rather than the need of having a ‘family doctor’. He said the natural farming technique can save land, cows, the environment, and water and it will increase the income of farmers. He called for a tie-up between the State Marketing Board and PK3Y to provide a better market platform for natural products in Himachal Pradesh.

Himachal Pradesh Agriculture minister, Virender Kanwar said the hill state has marginal and small landholders and the farmers here use more chemicals to increase productivity.

But this has badly affected the soil quality and its ill effect is visible on human health also. He said in view of this, the state government had started the Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y) with the guidance of Acharya Devvrat, who was then the Governor of Himachal Pradesh. “We have seen good results of this Yojana in four years and we are heading towards becoming a Chemical Free State.”

He said it was a matter of joy that farmers of other states are also getting associated with the natural farming movement started by Himachal Pradesh. The minister said efforts are being made to work out marketing mechanisms for natural produce by associating Rural Development and other departments so that the income of farmers could be raised.

Secretary Agriculture, Rakesh Kanwar detailed various activities being taken up under PK3Y and said things were being worked out to provide a market to the farmers doing natural farming. He said many farmers, who are producing natural products, have developed their own mechanism for marketing and some of them were getting good prices.

Managing Director of State Marketing Board, Naresh Thakur, and Director, Agriculture, Dr. NK Dhiman, 400 farmers from the state, and officers of PK3Y attended the function. Some of the farmers shared their experience in natural farming.