Acreage under organic farming do not increase in six districts of Gujarat

For six years since FY 2015-16, there has been no increase in the acreage of organic farming in the state as farmers are more attracted towards natural farming.

Agriculture can throw up quite surprising developments at times and this one is just one of them. Gujarat, one of the highest organic farming states in India, has reported a contradictory picture this time. The recent reports show that in six districts of Gujarat, that has 33 districts, the land under organic farming has not increased at all.

According to reports, the state government of Gujarat has been announcing special provisions for organic farming in the state budgets every year but there are not many takers of it. The budgetary allocations have been done for the last six years in Gujarat. Today, the total area under organic farming in Gujarat is around 9.6 lakh hectares. The travesty is that organic farming is being carried out on just 32,000 hectares of them. One reason provided for no change in the organic farming acreage in six districts and less progress in others is that farmers in Gujarat have directly adopted natural farming for greater sustainability.

The official data says that in the financial year 2014-15, about 30,000 hectares of organic farming was being done. The subsequent FY, Gujarat saw an increase of 2,000 hectares in this segment. Since then, there has not been any increase in the organic farming acreage.

Despite various steps taken by the Central Government and the state government, including the ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ (PKVY), farmers have not been attracted to organic farming. Gujarat also established institutions like the Gujarat Natural Farming and Organic Agricultural University six years ago and it said that farmers have adopted natural farming instead of organic farming.

At present, there are more than 10.27 lakh farmers practicing organic farming in India under PKVY scheme. In the last Union Budget, the central government has also come up with PM PRANAM Yojana in order to incentivise the states and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilisers and balanced use of chemical fertilisers. GOBARdhan Scheme was launched a few years ago meant for safe management of cattle and organic waste. This year, the central government looks to set up 500 “waste to wealth plants.”

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