New Delhi, September, 8, 2020: Organic and natural farming in India, despite its obvious advantages and the efforts by Central and state governments to encourage it, has not become a mass movement. A mere 2 per cent of India’s net sown area is organically farmed; only 1.3 per cent of the farmers in India are registered to do organic farming – says a new report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released here today in an online webinar.
Organic and Natural Farming in India: Challenges and Possibilities, as the report is titled, was released by Niti Aayog vice chairperson Rajiv Kumar in the presence of a panel which included Sunita Narain, director general, CSE; Saurabh Garg, principal secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha; M Geetha, secretary and agriculture commissioner, Department of Agriculture Development and Farmer Welfare and Bio-technology, Government of Chhattisgarh; G V Ramanjaneyulu, executive director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture; and Amit Khurana, programme director, Food and Toxins, CSE.
The report presents a grim picture of the crisis in Indian agriculture. The share of agriculture and its allied sectors in the country’s Gross Value Added has steadily declined. In 2018, over 10,000 farmers committed suicide in the country – this comes to more than one farmer or farm worker every hour! Over 50 per cent of farm households in the India are in debt. Added to all this is the rapid degradation and pollution of natural resources of land and water, declining soil fertility, pesticide pollution and the problem of pest-resistance, among other things.
“It is clear that the time has come to reimagine agriculture, and organic and natural farming can provide us that platform for reimagination,” said Sunita Narain, welcoming the panelists and participants at the webinar. “But to be able to do that, governments at the Centre and states will have to play a much bigger role to upscale organic and natural farming. They must drive this change towards sustainable agriculture practices which will help our farmers, people, climate and the environment. This is what our report highlights and argues for.”
The CSE report also highlights the gaps in the policy framework and programme implementation, and identifies barriers in the growth of organic and natural farming from the perspective of farmers, government and the consumer. Says Amit Khurana, programme director, food safety and toxins, CSE: “What we have today is a reluctant political support, minuscule budgetary allocations compared to chemical fertilizer subsidies, an extension system with limited expertise, a group certification system that is not farmer-friendly, and negligible government support to farmers to link them with the market.”
Releasing the report and echoing CSE’s proposed line of action, Rajiv Kumar said: “I congratulate CSE for this first-of-its-kind publication. Niti Aayog is committed to promoting chemical-free agriculture in the country. We need to bring everyone together. The time has come to make it a jan aandolan.”
India has arrived at a stage where upscaling is very much possible, opined G V Ramanjaneyulu in his address. However, the country – he felt -- needs to move from “a technology-centric approach to a livelihood-based approach”.
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For any other help, please contact: Sukanya Nair of The CSE Media Resource Centre, firstname.lastname@example.org, 8816818864.
|State of Organic and Natural Farming in India : Challenges and Possibilities|
|Organic Farming Odisha’s Perspective
By: Dr Saurabh Garg
|State of Organic and Natural Farming in India Challenges and Possibilities
By: Amit Khurana, Director, Food Safety and Toxins Programme, CSE
|Towards Organic Farming – Godhan Nyay Yojana in Chhattisgarh
By: Dr M Geetha
|Transition to Organic/Natural Farming: Learning from Ground
|CSE Report release by|
|DR RAJIV KUMAR
|DR SAURABH GARG
Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Empowerment, Government of Odisha
|DR M GEETHA
Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Development and Farmer Welfare and Bio-Technology, Government of Chhattisgarh
|DR G V RAMANJANEYULU
Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
Director, Food Safety and Toxins, Centre for Science and Environment