Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced on Monday that the Uttar Pradesh government will implement natural farming in 135 state farms starting from the next Kharif season and the Center is expected to increase the incentive to natural farming at Rs 31,000 per hectare, as well as making a budget allocation for product branding and marketing.
On approximately 527 hectares of land, 542 progressive farmers actually practice natural farming in the state. Their services will be used as a key resource for individuals in various districts to promote natural farming, he said.
“The implementation of cow-based natural agriculture in the state will help in the protection and promotion of biodiversity,” Adityanath said, speaking virtually at a “national agriculture workshop innovation” organized by NITI Aayog in Delhi.
“Using cow dung and urine to fertilize land can improve soil health and reduce the use of imported chemical fertilizers. Using crop residues in natural farming and mulching would also help prevent stubble burning,” he added.
The Chief Minister stressed the importance of protecting Mother Earth, saying that natural farming will contribute to the conservation of natural resources, the environment, farmers’ incomes and people’s health.
“Incentives to farmers for natural farming should be enhanced and brought to the same level as the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) incentive of Rs 31,000 per acre,” Adityanath demanded as the government drafts a roadmap on natural farming.
“Organic farming receives Rs 50,000 per hectare under the PKVY which includes an incentive for farmers of Rs 31,000 per hectare for three years. According to him, the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddati (BPKP) sub-scheme ) provides Rs 21,000 per hectare with the farmer incentive being only Rs 2,000 per hectare.
The Chief Minister, highlighting the marketing challenges faced by organic and natural farmers, said that adding value to products and marketing them is one of the biggest challenges, and he urged the Center to include a budget for branding and marketing initiatives within program guidelines.
Since soil health and the presence of organic carbon must be assessed before sowing and after harvest, the CM indicated that an appropriate budget must be provided for carrying out soil tests. Adityanath highlighted the state’s efforts to promote natural farming, saying the state has been encouraging this method of farming for two years.
Five agricultural universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, ten regional agricultural trial and demonstration institutes and the public agricultural management institute in Rehmandkheda, Lucknow, have all set up demonstration plots.
Furthermore, the national government has approved an Rs 82.82 crore action plan for 35 districts in the state, covering an area of 38,670 hectares, under the centrally funded BPKP scheme.
He said the program will be implemented for three years, starting from the month of Kharif this year. Under the Namami Ganga program, horticulture and agroforestry have been included in natural agriculture within 10 kilometers of the Ganges in selected areas. Over 2,000,000 farmers will benefit.
The Chief Minister said that natural farming has been practiced in various ways in the Bundelkhand region of the state for centuries and to further promote it, clusters of 500 to 1000 hectares will be built in the 47 development blocks of the seven districts of the region.
Over the next five years, a total of 47,000 hectares will be targeted, for Rs 175.46 crore, of which 1.17 lakh farmers will benefit, he added.
First published: April 26, 2022, 11:42 IST