The National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) organised a special meet for the benefit of farmers and school children in Karur district to create awareness on protecting environment and to foster organic farming practices. The programme was conducted at the Saraswathi Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Puzhutheri, near here on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion, organic farming expert G. Nammalvar pointed out that gases emitted by industries and vehicles, rampant use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides caused global warming.

He warned that melting of Himalayan glaciers could lead to flooding and submersion of low-lying islands. Referring to the low level of tree cover in Karur district, Dr. Nammalvar appealed to the people to rapidly take up planting of at least 10 plant varieties such as neem, amla, papaya, curry leaf plant and drumstick tree by every family. This would take care of the environment and provide economic solutions to problems of malnutrition plaguing the society, he added.

Stating that malnutrition among children was a result of the change in the food habits, Dr. Nammalvar warned that food products now contain poisonous substances because of excessive use of chemical fertilizers.

Dr. Nammalvar suggested that farmers should go in for environmentally sustainable practices such as organic farming to improve productivity .

The Assistant General Manager, NABARD, A. Parthiban said Karur district has only two per cent forest cover and it needed to be increased immediately to ensure sufficient rainfall and green cover. The district administration, voluntary agencies and individuals should cooperate in the endeavour, he pointed out.

Lead District Manager K. Chandrasekaran observed that banks in the district were extending credit to farmers to take up organic farming practices so that productivity could be improved without affecting the environment. Eminent personalities such as Dr. Nammalvar were shouldering the responsibility of creating awareness among farmers on sustainable and organic farming methods and farmers' should take a leaf out of their book, he opined.

Joint Director, Agriculture, S.Jagadeesan, threw light on various schemes being implemented by the State government with respect to vermicomposting, organic farming and watershed development . At the end of the meet, free saplings were distributed to farmers and school children. Awards were presented to winners of the painting and essay competition on “environment protection'' for school children on the occasion.

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