Natural farming increases by 400,000 hectares in 8 states

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar revealed that Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu have added 4.09 lakh hectares in natural farming.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced in Parliament that approximately 4.09 lakh hectares of agricultural land across eight Indian states have been transitioned to natural farming. Andhra Pradesh has been at the forefront of this effort, leading the group of states which includes Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu. The information was shared by the minister in a written response to the Lok Sabha.

Natural farming is a chemical-free approach that integrates agriculture and animal husbandry, utilizing local resources and livestock. This method emphasizes on-farm biomass recycling, especially through biomass mulching, and employs on-farm cow dung-urine mixtures sourced from local livestock.

Since 2019-20, the Central Government has been promoting natural farming through a sub-scheme called Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP), which operates under the umbrella of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. The adoption of natural farming has covered around 1 lakh hectares so far, with specifics as follows: nearly 99,000 hectares in Andhra Pradesh, approximately 85,000 hectares in Madhya Pradesh, about 84,000 hectares in Chhattisgarh, around 24,000 hectares in Odisha, roughly 12,000 hectares in Himachal Pradesh, approximately 3,400 hectares in Jharkhand, and about 2,000 hectares in Tamil Nadu, as stated by the Union Minister.

According to the HLPE Report, embracing natural farming will decrease reliance on external inputs, alleviating credit burdens for smallholder farmers. Multiple studies have highlighted the efficacy of natural farming in boosting production, ensuring sustainability, conserving water usage, enhancing soil health, and nurturing farmland ecosystems. It is seen as a cost-effective farming approach with potential for generating employment and fostering rural development.

NITI Ayog projects that the area under natural farming is anticipated to expand to 20 lakh hectares over the next five years, encompassing various forms of organic farming, with 12 lakh hectares falling under the BPKP scheme.

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