The State government has chalked out a plan to promote natural farming in a big way to ensure food security for millions on the one hand and make farming profitable for farmers on the other.
Taking part in an awareness meet for growers on natural farming and on cultivation of millets here recently, State Chief Secretary I.Y.R. Krishna Rao said that the present intensive and pest-management-based cultivation had resulted in over-production of superior cereals - rice and wheat- and neglect of the healthy raggi and other millets.
He attributed the shortage of red gram during last year to non-maintenance of the critical balance between different crops including pulses and edible oil.
Giving finer details of the plan to turn Andhra Pradesh into an ‘organic farming State’, Agriculture Special Chief Secretary T. Vijaykumar said noted natural farmer Subhash Palekar would train for eight days 30 farmers each from 130 clusters across the State at Kakinada this month-end on organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices.
“We planned to train this year about 1.5 lakh farmers, who, in turn, will inspire 50 to 60 lakh farmers “to take up organic farming,” he explained, adding that 30 to 40 new agricultural practices would be taught to the selected progressive farmers to restore the soil health and ensure sustainable agriculture. The government had constituted a Core Committee headed by Mr. Vijaykumar to show assured market for millet growers.
“There is a need for increasing the carbon content in the soil to at least 2 per cent as against the present average carbon content of less than 0.5 per cent,” he said, adding that ‘the green revolution tools will not work in increasing food production to meet the expected demand in the year 2050.’
Food 360 Foundation President J. A. Chowdary said the next wave of opportunity would be for production of healthy millets. Realising the huge untapped market potential for millets, more and more IT professionals are turning themselves into agri-entrepreneurs to market value-added millet-based products to replace ‘junk foods’, added Mr. Chowdary, who is also advisor for IT and Special Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister.
Sustainable food security
Expert to train 30 ryots each from 130 clusters across AP for eight days
Target set to educate
1.5 lakh farmers on organic farming this year
Farmers to be sensitised on 30 to 40 farm practices
Panel formed to guide farmers on marketing of millets
An expert to train 30 farmers each from 130 clusters across Andhra Pradesh for