VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy called for a national strategy on natural farming and asked the Finance Commission to give states with vast areas of natural farming more weight. On Monday, he spoke online at a Niti Aayog conference on natural farming.
Reddy said that in 2021-22, 6.31 lakh farmers in Andhra enrolled for natural farming, covering 2.9 lakh hectares, or 5% of the land under cultivation, and that the government was encouraging the practise. Farmers who practise natural farming should be rewarded, he said. The certification process for natural and organic farming should be farmer-savvy, and the practise should be included in agricultural university curricula.
Natural farming and its benefits should be the subject of institutional research, he said. The central and state governments allocated supported projects in a 60:40 ratio, which should be altered to 90:10 for natural farming.
Jagan Reddy said, a quality harvest is required to keep society healthy by reducing reliance on synthetic chemicals in agriculture. Natural farming was a major invention for boosting farmer livelihoods, protecting people's food and nutrition security, avoiding chemical intake through food, regenerating soil, enhancing water conservation, and a variety of other environmentally friendly benefits. Natural farming was done in 3,009 of the 10,778 Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs), he said, adding that RBKs play a critical role in providing assistance to farmers who practise natural farming. They were also putting up shows.
The German government has agreed in principle to provide financial aid of Euro 20 million over five years to encourage natural farming. The Indo-German Global Academy on Agro-Ecology Research and Learning would be established, with the goal of disseminating scientific understanding about natural agricultural systems, he said.