Over 6.30 lakh farmers in Andhra Pradesh have registered for natural farming in 2.9 lakh hectares in 2021-22 and it is in practice in 3,009 of 10,778 Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBK) and natural farming is being done in five per cent of the land under cultivation, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said while participating virtually in a national workshop on natural farming organised by the Niti Aayog.
The chief minister said a policy should be introduced to encourage natural farming. He said that the RBKs were playing a vital role in extending support to the farmers practising natural farming and added that awareness programmes on natural farming were being held through them.
Germany has agreed to provide 20 million euros in five years to promote natural farming in the state and will set up an Indo-German academy on agro-ecology research and learning that will work to impart scientific methods in natural farming. Reddy said a partnership with international institutions like the Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations Environment Programme,International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, University of Reading, University of Edinburgh, CIRAD (France), GIZ, KfW and certification to the natural farming products at the RBK level will increase natural farming.
The chief minister opined that rewards should be given to the farmers practising natural farming and weightage should be given in the recommendations of the Finance Commission to the states implementing natural farming in large areas. He said the process of certification to natural and organic farming should be farmer-friendly. He said institutional research should be continued on natural farming and studies should be conducted on the impact of natural farming products and synthetic chemicals products on the health of the people. The chief minister said that allocations of sponsored projects were done in a 60:40 ratio by the central and state governments and it should be changed to 90:10 for natural farming. Reddy told the participants that natural farming was a critical innovation for improving the livelihoods of farmers, for protecting the food security of the people, avoiding chemical intake through food, regenerating soil and enhancing water conservation.