Government support sought for organic farmers

November 11, 2012 0 Comments

By Express News Service – BHUBANESWAR

08th November 2012 12:18 PM

For years, he kept incurring losses as the yield did not match his expenditure on the crop. Being a traditional farmer growing indigenous varieties of rice, he never used any chemical for his crops. But, Loknath Nauri of Bissamcuttack in Rayagada district, jumped to inorganic farming when told that this would assure higher returns.

“The hybrid paddy seeds that the local shopkeeper peddled grew well, but I had to buy seeds every year. Besides, I was tired of spraying pesticides in my field,” he recalls. Harassed, he went back to his traditional farming system a few years back. Instead of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, he uses vermicompost and cow dung manure in his field and to battle pests, he uses powder of dried neem leaves.

“Though the yield in organic farming is less than that of inorganic, the input costs are very less. If I spent ` 5,000 on fertilisers and pesticides for growing paddy, I spend as little as ` 800 now. And the paddy I grow is safe,” he says.

Parvati Pushika’s story is similar. Also belonging to Rayagada, Parvati today grows as many as 42 varieties of crops, including grains, pulses, legumes and oilseeds using the organic method. Having re-adopted conventional varieties, farmers like Nauri and Parvati are convinced that organic farming is a sustainable way of life.

The two were here to participate at a convention organised by the Organic Farming Association of India on Thursday.

Urging the State Government to promote organic farming, speakers at the convention said farmers like Parvati and Nauri and many more in pockets like Rayagada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal have been doing organic farming for ages, but the Green Revolution is threatening their crop diversity. “Green Revolution is unnecessary as farmers need no external inputs for farming, including chemicals and pesticides,” said one of India’s leading ecologists, Debal Deb.

On the occasion, president of the Organic Farming Association, S Patel, said Odisha being one of the largest organic farming States in the country, the State Government should come out with a comprehensive policy in this regard within three months.

The Association also sought subsidy for organic farmers as is being provided to the inorganic farmers and allocation of 50 per cent budget by OUAT for research in organic farming.