Himachal University set to become science resource center on natural agriculture: Vice Chancellor

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Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh is set to become the premier ”Natural Agriculture Science Resource Center” for all the mountainous states of the country and the world, according to newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Rajeshwar Singh Chandel.

In an interview with PTI, Chandel said his efforts would make the university the premier “natural agriculture science resource center” for the entire region as well as the world. The university will create a pilot project focused on natural agriculture by establishing demonstration farms in eight panchayats surrounding the campus, following the principles of “learning by doing and seeing is believing”, said Chandel who is also the Executive Director of Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y) of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. “We will develop a model on four principles of natural agriculture initiated by Padma Shree Laureate Subhash Palekar and build a natural ecosystem model in these nearby panchayats. It will generate scientific data and it will be easier for students and foreigners visiting the university to see it and learn from it,” he said.

Chandel said, “The production system for this non-chemical, low-cost, climate-resilient natural agriculture is already established. Now we need to establish the science. Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry will be the first university to substantiate the success of natural agriculture in the country on a scientific basis in the next three years.” Hailing from Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district, Chandel, 54 , is an outstanding entomologist with over 25 years of teaching and research experience. He has played a significant role in the success of natural farming in Himachal Pradesh over the past four years since the launch of PK3Y. He is now actively engaged in policy making with NITI Aayog to start natural farming nationally.

Chandel said the green revolution of the last century may have been a need of the times to increase products. However, biodiversity has emerged as a big challenge over the decades. Pests and diseases have increased with the excessive use of chemicals in agriculture, traditional crops are disappearing and it is worrying that the area cultivated with millet has decreased considerably.

”Over time, the cultivation of vegetables has developed considerably. But all of this led to wealth, not prosperity. The figures for anemia in women and stunting in children are concerning and shed further light on the nutritional deficiencies that have occurred with the type of farming practices we have been following,” he said.

Chandel said the overall cost of growing has increased due to spending on agrochemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides.

”Given all this, it is necessary to reorient the research objectives. Natural agriculture will be my priority. This reduces the farmer’s dependence on the market as they can make all the natural farm inputs with desi cow manure and urine and local plants on the farm itself. “A study by the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) of PK3Y showed that natural farming reduced the cost of cultivation by 56% and increased net income by 27%. It improves soil health and the produce is nutritious,” he said.

Chandel said that the success rate of Himachal Pradesh’s natural farming model goes beyond state and country borders, and that 1.70 lakh farmers are currently practicing natural farming in the state. Hills.

Nauni University VC said Prime Minister Narendra Modi also appreciated natural farming. The prime minister’s concern has been the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, the ever-increasing cost of cultivation and its adverse effects on farmers and agriculture, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor said the university has 2,800 students and his effort would be to get them out of the four walls of the university and have a course curriculum in such a way that the students are more exposed on the ground.

Chandel said Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry has had a glorious past and has many illustrious alumni. He said he would try to bring in university alumni to mentor the students.

The VC said he believed farming wasn’t done on the books – it was done on the farm and should be based on need. ”There is a feeling that I am a master and the farmer is a disciple. We need to close this gap and strengthen the link with farmers. The farmer practically knows. This is why, when they were told about natural agriculture, many of them adopted it after experimenting on small plots of land or even on vegetable gardens. When they found it successful, they adopted it,” he said.

Chandel said even the United Nations has said that zero-budget natural farming has the potential for sustainable agriculture. ”We need to embrace natural farming for sustainable agriculture and get farmers out of debt. I think a lot of people don’t have a problem with the natural farming technique. The problem is with the mindset. We have to solve it,” he said.

Chandel’s initiative on Sustainable Food Systems for Natural Agriculture (SuSPNF) for Himachal Pradesh has been internationally appreciated. In addition, he is a member of the central government panel constituted to develop a curriculum based on natural agriculture in agriculture and forestry universities across the country.

Chandel has published over 200 research papers and has held senior positions in the past including Co-Director of Research at Nauni University.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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