The much-hyped Karnataka State Organic Farming Mission of the State Government has received a jolt with its prominent member and the State’s leading organic farming face L. Narayana Reddy tendering his resignation expressing “pain” over the manner in which the mission is being run.
“The mission has not helped even a single farmer ever since it was formed about a year ago. None of the benefits have reached farmers. What is the point in continuing in this post?” remarked Mr. Reddy, who leads a Gandhian way of life and has mentored a large number of farmers to take up organic farming in the State.
The 23-member mission headed by A.S. Anand was set up in August 2008 to promote organic farming on a mission mode approach. The mission, which has 14 organic farmers and nine officials and vice-chancellors, has a host of objectives including formulating programme and operational guidelines for promotion of organic farming. The mission has set up district-level committees of organic farmers to implement its objectives.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Reddy alleged that not many people who are on these committees were farmers. “Some of them are contractors. What is more painful is that a large number of them are just political followers of the rural party who have nothing to do with farming.”
Mr. Reddy, who travels extensively in the State to meet farmers and whose model farm in Doddaballapur is visited by a large number of farmers and students, said: “I meet nearly 1,000 farmers, a majority of them organic farmers, in a month during my extensive travels to villages. But I could see that none of the farmers had received any benefits from this mission though it is working for more than a year.”
Mr. Reddy, who has been honoured by the Hampi Kannada University with Nadoja award, which is equivalent to the D.Lit. degree, for his contribution to agriculture field, maintained that the Organic Farming Mission should have taken up programmes such as propagation of cultivation of minor millets in the dry regions to bail out farmers from drought.
Mr. Reddy, who trains students of foreign agricultural universities in his farm, said he was ignored by the mission which never actively involved him in its work. “I was not even informed about its formal launching ceremony which was held in front of the Vidhana Soudha in the presence of the former President Abdul Kalam in Jaunary this year.”
He said he had submitted his resignation to the mission in February 2009 itself. But as no action had been initiated in this regard, he met the mission authorities on September 29 and pressed for accepting his resignation. He has been assured of being relieved of the responsibility in a couple of days, he said.