Urging farmers to turn to organic or natural farming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said there is a need to take agriculture out of the chemical laboratory and connect it with the nature’s lab.
Modi, in his virtual address at the National Conclave on Natural Farming held at Anand, also expressed concern over the issue of stubble burning, saying the practice would actually harm the productivity of the agricultural land.
He said time has now come to “correct the mistakes” that have become part of farming.
“It is a fact that chemicals and fertilisers have played a crucial role in the green revolution. But it is also imperative to work on their alternatives. It is the right time to take big steps before the issues related to farming become severe. In Gujarati, it is said that prevention is always better than cure,” the prime minister said in his virtual address.
He stressed the need to find alternatives of chemical fertilizers and pesticides saying the high cost of import shoots up the cost of farming and in turn increases the prices of farm produce for the common man.
Time has come to correct the mistakes that have now become part of farming, such as burning of farm residue and use of chemical fertilisers, he said, adding, “Experts say that burning farm residue would actually reduce the productivity of the land. As we know, bricks are made after heating the clay. Despite knowing that, it has become a tradition in our country to burn the stubble.” Air pollution due to stubble burning, especially in northern parts of India, has become a major cause of concern as farmers burn several tons of crop waste from their paddy fields after harvesting.
The prime minister added that there is another misconception among the farmers, which is higher yield is not possible without chemical fertilisers.
“We need to take agriculture out of the chemical lab and connect it with the nature’s lab. And natural farming is also science-based. Experts had opined that cows can play an important role in organic farming as their dung and urine can be used as both fertilizer as well as pesticide. This will reduce the cost of farming,” Modi said, adding that natural farming would prove more beneficial to small and marginal farmers.
During the address, he urged the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and other such institutions as well as agricultural universities to adopt the concept of ‘Lab to Land’ and take their research on natural farming on the ground to help farmers.
Modi appealed to all the state governments to take up natural farming as a people’s movement and turn at least one village of each panchayat towards the organic methods of agriculture.
“Farmers can start organic farming on a small scale on their land. You can start from a small piece of land first to check the results and then expand to the entire farm. I also urge entrepreneurs to invest in the processing of organic farm produce. Entire world’s market is waiting for you,” he said.
Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and others were present at the conclave.