To focus on the many socioeconomic and environmental advantages of natural farming for bolstering farmers’ welfare, consumer health, food security and nutrition, Niti Aayog recently organized a two-day national-level consultation with pertinent stakeholders.

The attendees of this consultation session include- Central and state government officials, representatives from international organizations and farmers’ associations, scientists and experts from agriculture universities and institutions, and trusts and NGOs associated with natural farming.

Union Minster of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar stated that natural farming has been done in India over the centuries and extolled Niti Aayog’s endeavour to front-line the adoption of natural farming across the nation. He informed that the Union Agriculture Ministry has sanctioned a budget to advocate the practice. Proposals on natural farming by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Chhattisgarh have also been considered and consents have been granted.

Acharya Devvrat, Governor of Gujarat declared that in the next 5 years, 12 lakh hectare of land will be under natural farming in his state. He said that about 1.20 lakh farmers in Gujarat espoused natural farming during the ongoing kharif season and another 5.50 lakh were interested for the same. He further talk about the several advantages of the practice—the input cost tends to be ‘zero’; irrigation requirement is reduced to 60–70%, with a rise in organic carbon level from 0.5 to 0.9. The trading of such produce faces no hindrance, where the best-quality wheat can be marketed at Rs 4,000 per quintal rather than the conventional rate of Rs 1,900.

Lauding the attempts of the Agriculture Ministry to propagate the benefits of natural farming, Niti Aayog VC Dr Raijv Kumar stated that the approval and implementation of the practice is still in a transitionary stage. However, India anticipates to the adoption of natural farming as a jan andolan coming up as a net agri-exporter.

Niti Aayog Member (Agriculture), Prof. Ramesh Chand declared that the matters related to the framing of a new policy environment, product identity, value chain and marketing would maintained as a future plan of action.

Highlighting the role of agriculture in economic growth, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant stated that there is a need to build a common understanding and functional strategies to support natural farming to sustain flow in the food supply system.

The event had four technical sessions—natural farming (national and global perspectives); natural farming for pan-India adoption and success stories; natural farming (adoption and impact evaluation); and natural farming (farmers’ organisation, experiences, and challenges)—headed by Niti Aayog Member (Agriculture) Prof. Ramesh Chand; Acharya Devvrat; and Kaadsiddeshwar Swami Ji, Kaneri Math, Kolhapur.

The consultation expects to disseminate a systematic method for the implementation of natural farming at the farm level; identify an extension-cum-training program to be run by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research via Krishi Vigyan Kendras, state agriculture departments, the private sector, cooperatives and NGOs; and frame a document on success stories/best practices, with the scientific background needed to control crop production and health.




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