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#Kolkata: To expand the area under natural farming, the government is going to initiate various schemes. The government aims to increase the financial support provided for the promotion of traditional indigenous methods. which does not recommend the use of chemical fertilizers. The FE has already been informed that there will be a significant increase in the financial allocation under the Indian Natural Agriculture System (BPKP), a sub-scheme under the Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture. “A cabinet note is being prepared to increase financial allocation for promotion of natural farming practices,” an agriculture ministry official said.

The government launched the BPKP in 2020-21 where financial assistance of Rs 12,200 per hectare is provided for 3 years for cluster formation, capacity building and manual capture, certification and residue analysis by trained personnel. 56 crore has been disbursed under the scheme so far.

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An Agriculture Ministry official said that since the BPKP was initially introduced for 3 years which will end at the end of the current fiscal year, there is a need to increase incentives for farmers to shift from conventional farming to natural farming where chemical fertilizers are used to increase soil nutrients. Cultivation method depends on inputs purchased by farmers without affecting productivity. In this regard, it is expected to reduce the dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

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BPKP focuses on elimination of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes on-farm biomass recycling with major emphasis on biomass mulching, use of dung-urine formulations and other plant-based preparations. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 0.5 million hectares are under natural cultivation. Most of them are in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh has 0.1 million hectares under natural cultivation. More than 0.73 million farmers have already started natural farming system. Other states that have introduced organic farming include Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech for 2022-23 said the government would focus on promoting natural farming in a five-km-wide corridor along the Ganga river. Sitharaman also said that states will be encouraged to revise agricultural university curricula to meet the needs of natural, zero-budget and organic farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition and management.

The Economic Survey (2021-22) noted that ‘to sustain agricultural production through eco-friendly processes in harmony with nature and to ensure chemical-free products and preserve soil productivity, the government is also encouraging farmers to adopt natural farming techniques.’ Last month, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar chaired the first steering committee meeting of the National Natural Agriculture Mission. Meanwhile, the multi-member committee formed by the agriculture ministry in August is currently discussing issues related to minimum support price, crop diversification and promotion of natural farming.

Published by:Dolon Chattopadhyay

First published:

Tags: Financial Assistance, Natural Farming

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