Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has said that every farmer practising natural farming should be treated as a national treasure and should be rewarded. The State governments which are encouraging natural farming should be given suitable weightage in the recommendations of the Finance Commission, Mr. Jagan said during a virtual meeting on “Natural Farming”, organised by the Niti Aayog as part of Azadi Ki Amrut Mahostav.
“The Government of Andhra Pradesh is setting up an Indo-German Global Academy on Agroecology Research and Learning (IGGAARL) with €20 million funded by Germany. The centre will offer technological support to those practising natural farming. I urge the Central government to bear 90% of the cost of natural farming,” Mr. Jagan said.
Beginning his address with references to the Green Revolution, Mr. Jagan said that farm productivity had gone up by leaps and bounds due to innovative practices. The time had come to decrease dependency on chemical fertilizers and pesticides and to encourage natural farming.
Excessive use of chemical fertilizers would also affect food security and hence natural farming should be encouraged to boost soil productivity.
“The Government of Andhra Pradesh has set its eyes on ‘Evergreen revolution’, to ensure quality life and better livelihood opportunities to its citizens. Natural farming is being done in 2.9 lakh hectares by 6.30 lakh farmers, 10,778 Rythu Bharosa Kendras. Natural farming is being done in 5% of the total area in the State. We are committed to natural farming and we are committed to support farmers who opt for natural farming,” the Chief Minister said.
Stating that the welfare of farmers was at the core of the policies of the State government, Mr. Jagan said that a RBK had been set up to cover 2,000 farmers and services were being delivered to the farmers at their doorstep.
The e-cropping method was being used to synchronise data of various farmer welfare schemes and provide technological support to farmers. Every RBK had a village agricultural assistant who had either a degree or diploma in agriculture or horticulture. A banking correspondent had also been appointed at RBKs. Agriculture advisory boards had been constituted at the district level and 80,359 farmers are part of this advisory boards.
Further, the State government was working with international organisations such as Food and Agricultural Organisation, University of Edinburgh and other organisations to strengthen the RBKs., he said.
Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma, Secretary to the Chief Minister K. Jawahar Reddy and Special Commissioner, Agriculture, Ch. Hari Kiran were present.