Maharashtra govt to promote organic farming

Feb 15, 2013, 06.38AM IST TNN[ Abhilash Botekar ]
NASHIK: The city will now have more outlets with organic produce, after a policy decision taken by the state government to encourage organic farming.

The state government has decided to promote organic lifestyle and has promised various measures to promote the use of genetically non-modified seeds, providing cold storage, packaging, processing units besides introducing organic produce outlets for famers, said Madhukar Panhale, superintendant of agriculture.

“The government has adopted organic farming policy drafted by a committee led by Dr Rajaram Deshmukh. The state wants to start by bringing at least 10% of the land under organic farming and providing more organic matter like fertiliser and pesticides and also carry out lectures and awareness among farmers,” said Panhale.

He pointed out that chemical fertilizers and pesticides were not only affecting the quality of soil and water, but also harming those who consume the products with chemical residue. Though the state government was mulling over promotion of organic farms since 2003, it formally adopted the policy in 2013 and now intends bring in as much of land under the organic farming as possible. The state wants to bring in a lifestyle through organic farming.

“As per the policy, a separate cell will be created at district level which will monitor the growth of organic farming in the area. The government has also decided to support and create brands and help in promoting them,” Panhale said.

The officer said that the farmers will be helped at the grassroots level, monitor their development, create market within their areas, give them facilities such as packaging, processing and cold storage units, and further help them in starting their own outlets and facilitating interaction with the consumers directly.

“The farmers will also be given aide in the form of cash and kind, more than 100 hectares of land, etc transfer of technology to manufacture organic cultures and fertilizers and pesticides, besides providing machineries required for the project,” the official said.