Shot in arm for organic farmers

August 27, 2012 0 Comments

Anju Agnihotri Chaba : Jalandhar, Sun Aug 26 2012

In a move to promote promote organic farming in state, the first organic food testing laboratory of Punjab, coming up in Jalandhar, will certify the farmers’ produce before it is sold in the open market.

The laboratory is being set up under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, a central government scheme, while the staff would be appointed from the state agriculture department.

It may be noted that Punjab, known as India’s foodbowl, contributing more than 50 per cent of the wheat and 35 per cent paddy to the central pool. However, it has earned flak too by becoming the highest consumer of pesticides — nearly 19 per cent of the total pesticide used in the country is consumed in Punjab, which has 2.5 per cent of the country’s total agricultural — and fertilisers (223 kg per hectare.

“Farmers are ready to give up pesticides and adopt organic farming. But they are helpless as no Minimum Support Price (MSP) is fixed for the organic produce. Also, the state government has not extended any economic support to organic farmers,” a farmer who has taken to organic farming said.

He said that setting up of the lab will go a long way in helping the farmers. The lab will test and certify the organic food products.

“A proper procedure will be followed so that only pure organic food reaches the consumer,” chief agriculture officer, Jalandhar, Swatantra Airy, said.

“Organic farming has a great future in the state, but it will take some time before farmers switch over,” said Naresh Gulati, deputy director of Agriculture Technology Management Agency.