Time to correct wrong farming practises, says PM Modi

‘Science-based shift to natural farming needed’

December 17, 2021 03:31 am | Updated 03:31 am IST - NEW DELHI

Narendra Modi addressing a conclave on natural farming via video link on December 16, 2021.

Narendra Modi addressing a conclave on natural farming via video link on December 16, 2021.

It is time to correct wrong farming practises before the problems of the agriculture sector become even worse, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Virtually addressing a conclave on natural farming in Gujarat on Thursday, Mr. Modi urged farmers to replace the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that spurred the Green Revolution with concoctions made with the dung and urine of indigenous cows, advocating for a “completely science-based” shift from chemistry labs to nature’s laboratory.

He said that small and marginal farmers, who owned less than two acres and made up 80% of the country’s farming population, stood to benefit the most from natural farming techniques as they were currently forced to spend large sums on expensive fertilizers.

Calling for a mass movement to promote natural farming, he stated that reducing the import bill for artificial fertilizers was an essential step to achieve the goal of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India. This comes at a time when farmers in parts of the country have been complaining of fertilizer shortages during the critical winter sowing season.

Fresh priority for Centre

Mr. Modi’s speech, which the Agriculture Ministry said was broadcast to eight crore farmers across the country, is the government’s latest push to promote zero budget natural farming techniques. Home Minister Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar were both present at the conclave in Anand, Gujarat, indicating that the topic is a fresh priority for the Centre, now that its flagship farm reform laws have been repealed.. While it is still awaiting any large-scale scientific study to assess the long-term impact of such techniques on productivity, farm income and food security, the Ministry says the experience of lakhs of farmers has showcased the method’s success.

Mr. Modi said, “An illusion has arisen that without chemicals, the crop will not be good. Whereas the truth is quite the opposite. Earlier there were no chemicals, but the harvest was good. The history of the development of humanity is witness to this. Before the problems related to agriculture become even worse, it is the right time to take big steps before that. We have to take our farming out of the lab of chemistry and connect it to the lab of nature. When I talk about nature's laboratory, it is completely science based.”

The Prime Minister quoted from ancient literature in Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil to support natural farming practises, and urged agricultural scientists to use this as the basis of new research. “We need not only relearn this ancient knowledge of agriculture, but also sharpen it for modern times. In this direction, we have to do new research, mould the ancient knowledge in the modern scientific frame. In this direction, institutions like our ICAR, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and agricultural universities can play a big role. We do not have to limit the information to research papers and theories only, we have to convert it into a practical success,” he added.

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