26741 farmers adopt organic farming in Himachal


Emerging as a leading state in the country,  as many as 25741 farmers in Himachal Pradesh have come forward to adopt organic farming bringing  more than 15541 hectares area under this practice .

Subject Matter Specialist of State Agriculture Department & Project Director of ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Agency), Dr. Raghuvir Singh told the correspondent that this ambitious project had been launched in year 2005-06 under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

Gradually being adopted by farmers in large number today taking the proportion of movement as they are coming forward to voluntarily roll over to it adopting traditional farming practice in their agriculture fields, he said.

The area under Organic farming is likely to increase by 2000 hectares by end of this year as ‘Promotion of Organic Farming project’ have already been launched in the rest of state to declare it certified for this practice by the certification agency.

Allured to get high yield, farmers are mindlessly using chemical manures to alarming proportion, as it was affecting human health drastically and also polluting soil, air, water and environment. Today authorities are to raise alarm bell in wake of deteriorating health of people and ineffectiveness of soil to respond to manure for high production in some of the pockets of Punjab and Haryana and other states.

Organic Farming (OcF) is not only environment friendly but became boon to improve the quality of soil content and texture in the arable land as peasantry is coming forward on their own to switch over to this practice.

“The farmers and consumers often misconceive its real objective misleading it to achieve high production however thrust is being given to improve the quality of food to provide healthy and non toxic product to the people at large, Mr. Singh informed.

“Since our country is surplus in food grain after achieving green revolution, thrust is being given now to improve food quality after launching such project on the national level.” Mr. Singh added.

Paradigm shift likely to be take place soon, as Organic farming is likely to be adopted by most of farmers in time to come.

Most of them are keen to roll back to their traditional and age-old farming practices yielding unexpected result as outcome is very positive. Moreover an interesting fact have came to lime light recently that shelf -life of “OcF” certified products are of much higher span compared to chemically produced vegetables and fruit products.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) select certification agency for each state which serve as service provider to farmers who could not certify their produce Organic but also get it sampled for three years for its quality, the official said.

Rather than targeting crop to adopt for OcF, arable land is being sorted and listed to proceeds with practice by the agency as every year 1000 to 2000 hectare area is being brought in cluster wise under RKVY scheme.

Genetically Modified Seeds (ZM crops) are not allowed under the OcF moreover it was being ensured before issuing certification to farmers that they also not use ‘hybrid seeds’ more than one or two years as they should have produce and procure OcF certified or their own seeds under this farming only.

With no use of chemical fertilizers efforts are being made to increase production of OcF crops as use of certified bio-fertilizers are being provided of various products by approved agencies as the brand of Rhizome, Azo-bector, phosphatic and Potash stabilizers and Zinc mobilization organic manure are being selectively allowed to increase productivity.

Synthetic and Chemical pesticides are also completely bared, however herbal syrups, excreta of animals and organic products like lassi etc are allowed to use as pesticides which yield good results.

Provision of vermicompost manure and its production is another key component of program as farmers should not depend upon the use of chemical manure for their good productions in the fields anymore.

State has laid target to set- up 10,000 modern vermicompost unit as department is providing Rs. 5000 per set grant to farmers in the organic farming clusters. Under this scheme High Density Polly Ethene (HDPE) sets are being issued to farmer to make them self reliance for need of manure.

Department is taking help of service-providers to set up readymade HDPE sets within three years of its allocations as it have capacity of 96 cubic feet each to produce one metric tune of VM Organic manures per annum.

On the block level organic farming societies are being registered which is being trained for OcF and also assisted them to fetch remunerative prices of their products after organising them so they could not be exploited by the commission agent and middle men.

Incentives are being provided to such groups so that they could be encouraged to adopt and sustain the practice for long time besides making them economical viable.

Numbers of tribal areas already using traditional practice of OcF are now being adopted under this program on priority basis as entire tribal belt of this hill state is likely to be brought under it soon.

It has been found that about 250 hectares area of Sangla valley in Kinnuar district have been adopted by the project as farmers were already producing black cumin (kala zeera) there for centuries in traditional ways.

Farmers and OcF societies are being provided free stall on international, national regional and state level organic fair so that they could learn more about it besides getting market and venue to sell their OcF products.

Hailed from this district, Ms. Nisha Chauhan Ghaso, villager of Jakhari near of Rampurbushair  and Mr. K.D.Sharma of Tugala village of Theog are among few progressive successful farmers adopting OcFs told their success stories.

Ms. Chauhan said five to six member of ‘Jaidevta Kajol group’ were going to attend national level OcFs trade fair scheduled to be held at Kochi in Kerela. The group converted into OcFs. The NGO now have more than 250 members.

“ In nuclear family of three to four person farming is being done after engaging one permanent labour on the monthly disbursement of Rs 5000 and three to four persons for four months in the peak season we are earning about  Rs. 5-6 lakh per annum from the vocation “ Ms. Chauhan said. After switching over to OcFs in 2005-06, my family agriculture, horticulture and animal rearing has transformed as it is very productive. We grew cereals including wheat, barley and maize, pulses like rajmaha, kolath and rowangi beside coarse food grain like ogala, bathu etc. she added.

Family grows wheat in 5 bigha, barley on 1 bigha and maize on 4 bigha annually, and get organic crops of about 6-7 quintal. Mr. Chauhan grows different rajmaha varieties like rozna, tina, capsule, chitra and mixed balarri.

“My family is using only vermicompost, poultry, goat and sheep dung as manure discarding all chemical for last nine years” she added.

Mr. Sharma who is member of Chhikher Sodu organic group told that they have attended trade fairs with help of projects at Bangalore and Hyderabad. He grows vegetables and apple on this practice. “My family has sown cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage nursery to be transplanted in the field during winters. Exotic vegetables are being sent daily in packed in boxes to Okhla market New Delhi where it was fetching price band of Rs 80-100 per kilogram” Mr. Sharma said.

After attending Hyderabad organic trade fair about eight years back I developed my interest in this practice and now grow apples and vegetables on 20-25 bigha arable land, he added. We hire agriculture labour mostly Nepali Gorkha as they considered best hardworking agriculture labour in the hill.

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ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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