1.71 lakh farmers grow chemical-free crops in Himachal

A total of 1.71 lakh farmers in Himachal Pradesh are growing chemical-free crops, a statement said on Sunday. An online portal for certification of 50,000 farmers doing natural farming will also be developed, it stated.

Farmers are also happy by using natural resources without the use of chemical fertilizers or spraying pesticides. This has been made possible under the state government’s flagship programme — Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojana.

With the incentives of the government, the inclination of the farmers towards natural farming has increased many folds in the state. Oriented towards chemical fertilizer-free farming, the women are playing an important role in taking Himachal forward in the production of natural crops, an official statement said.

Residents of Panjayanu village in Pangana subtehsil of Mandi district have set an example by adopting natural farming.

Local farmer Leena Sharma has inspired villagers to adopt natural farming by setting an example. She got a chance to participate in the training camp of agricultural scientist and Padma Shri Subhash Palekar organised by the Department of Agriculture.

After this, Leena started natural farming in her fields and with her inspiration today about 30 families of the village have adopted it.

Another woman from the village, Satya Devi, has become a master trainer of natural farming. Apart from traditional crops, groundnut, garlic, chilli, pulses, beans, tomato, brinjal, capsicum, linseed and coriander are being cultivated in the village.

Natural farming has increased the efficiency and fertility of their fields, while their income has also increased.

Official data says about 9,421 hectares is being cultivated through natural techniques by 1.71 lakh farmers of the state.

For this fiscal, the state has set a target of bringing 50,000 acres under natural farming. Besides, 50,000 farmers will be certified as natural farmers. An online portal is also being developed for this.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also appreciated the model of natural farming in Himachal Pradesh on national forums.

The aim of Prakritik Kheti, Khushal Kisan Yojana is to increase income by reducing the cost of crop production, to save soil and humans from the ill effects of chemical farming.

Under this scheme, the solution of indigenous cow dung and cow urine (gau mutra) and some local flora is used for spraying crops in place of chemical pesticides.

For making inputs to be used in natural farming, farmers are being provided 75 per cent subsidy on drums subject to a maximum of Rs 750 per drum.

A farmer family can get this benefit on three such drums. A total of 80 per cent subsidy is being given to Gaushala Parivartan for making the Gaushalas or cow sheds and collecting cow urine, with a maximum limit of Rs 8,000.

For the supply of inputs used in natural farming, there is also a provision of assistance of up to Rs 10,000 for opening natural farming resource reserves in each village.

So far, about Rs 58.46 crore has been spent under the Pratikriti Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojana.

Apart from developing a natural farming model in all 3,615 panchayats, work is being done to convert 100 villages into natural farming villages.

With the aim of making the farmers self-reliant, a target of establishing 10 new FPOs (Farmer-Producer Organization) based on natural farming has been set up in the state.

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