As a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India, NITI Aayog is organizing a series of events from November 2021 to April 2022. In this connection, a national workshop on Natural Farming wasorganized by Agriculture vertical, NITI Aayog on 30th November 2021 from 10 AM to 1 PM involving Krishi Vigyan Kendras across India under the Chairmanship by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. Opening remarks of the event was given by Dr. Neelam Patel, Senior Adviser (Agriculture), NITI Aayog which was followed by address by Shri Ramesh Chand, Member (Agriculture). He mentioned about the journey of the Country from food deficient to food surplus and the need to focus on doubling of farmers’ income. He also emphasized on the scientific validation of natural farming practices.
An exclusive website on natural farming developed by NITI Aayog was launched by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.The website covers information regarding natural farming including coverage of the practice in India, various schemes and initiatives by Central and State Governments, success stories from farmers and relevant publications among others. The website can be accessed at https://naturalfarming.niti.gov.in/. During the Chairman’s address Dr. Rajiv Kumar mentioned about the sustainability issues associated with chemical agriculture in view of the impending climate change and emphasized on the need to shift to natural farming for improving farmers’ income, human health, soil health and conservation of environment and the need to propagate this practice among wider farmer community. He also encouraged the scientific community to come forward for scientific validation and holistic cost benefit analysis of natural farming.
Shri AcharyaDevvrat, Governor of Gujaratin his presidential address elaborated about his personal experiences in practicing natural farming and his experiences in Himachal Pradesh as Governor of Himachal Pradesh.He stated that shift to natural farming from chemical farming resulted inconsiderablereduction in cost of cultivation, improvement in the soil healthand better yield. He also mentioned about the advantage of natural farming over organic farming considering the lesser input requirement and reducedlabour cost. AcharyDevvrat emphasized that natural farming was based on frontline technologies and scientific principles. This was also pointed out by Dr. Rajiv Kumar.
The first technical session of the workshop was chaired by Shri T. Vijayakumar, Vice Chairman, RythuSadhkar Sanstha, Andhra Pradesh. He shared the experiences of Andhra Pradesh in natural farming. Shri Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, highlighted the schemes and initiatives of Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare for promotion of natural farming. The potential of natural farming for addressing the global challenges related to agriculture sector were underlined by Dr. Ravi Prabhu, DDG, World Agroforestry Centre, ICRAF.Dr. A. K. Singh, DDG (Agriculture Extension), ICAR elaborated on the role of KVKs to demonstrate and disseminate natural farming practices. Dr. Rajeshwar Chandel, Executive Director, PrakritikKhetiKushhal Kisan Yojanaa, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh deliberated on natural farming for fruits and vegetables.
The second technical session of the workshop was chaired by Prof. J. P .Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST, Jammu & Srinagar and included experience sharing by farmers and KVKs from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana and Maharashtra followed by open house discussion.
More than 1000 participants including State Government and KVK officials, researchers from ICAR and Agriculture Universities and farmers have attended the workshop virtually fromacross the country.