Governor Acharya Devvrat said that it was a historical day for Himachal Pradesh when on the eve of Hindu New Year, revolutionary step had been taken by the state government in the direction of natural farming. He expressed hope that in near future Himachal would emerge as natural farming state of the country and other states would follow this model.The Governor was speaking as a chief guest in a seminar on "Zero Budget Natural Farming" (ZNBF) organized by Agriculture department here today.Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur presided over the Seminar.The Governor appreciated the sincere efforts made by the Chief Minister for initiating natural farming in the state and proposing budgetary provision of Rs. 25 crore for this sector during next financial year.He said that organic farming was no more profitable to the farmers as the industries in the name of organic products had been set up throughout the world and the inputs were more costly than chemical fertilizers which show that the exploitation of farmers had not been checked. He said that excessive use of chemical fertilizers decreases the organic carbon level and it reached at .3 in some agri fields of Punjab and Haryana.Acharya Devvrat said zero budget natural farming system was the only alternative for chemical and organic farming as it was safe and had capacity to double the income of farmers. Under this system, the cost of production becomes zero and products were non-poisonous. It also increase productivity of land, requires less consumption of water, protects friendly pests and the products were of best quality.He said that success of natural farming had proved its worth and an example which should be followed by others. He said that number of diseases had increased during last decades due to unreasonable chemical farming and it was the right time to shift from chemical farming to natural farming. He said that one local cow could be helpful in farming 30 acres of land and added that it would improve the fertility of the soil, producing maximum yield by using minimum water and getting remunerative price of their product.The Governor also expressed his concern about monkey menace in the state and farmers had been approaching him regarding this major problem.
Later, the Governor also participated in the interactive session with the farmers.Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur said that Zero Budget Natural Farming not only enhances soil fertility and soil organic matters on continuous basis, but also has capacity to transform economy of the farmers, since it require almost zero inputs from the market. He said that this farming was well suited for hill State like Himachal Pradesh where land holding are meager and farmers mostly rear indigenous breed of cattle. He said that the soil have all the required nutrients in abundant, hence there was no need to use chemical fertilizers. He said that the State Government intends to encourage Zero Budget Natural Farming, so as to bring down the cost of cultivation. But still it was an uphill task to motivate the farmers to adopt Zero Budget Farming as over the years they had been using chemical fertilizers for farming, he added.He said that the State Government has proposed a new scheme with an outlay of Rs. 25 crore, namely 'Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kissan'. He said that under this scheme, the farmers of the State would be provided training and necessary equipment etc. He said that Zero Budget Natural Farming has potential of revolutionizing the farming system, provided the farmers adopt the natural way of farming. Mother Nature has potential to fulfil all our needs, but even it can't satisfy our greed, he quipped.The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of the Governor Acharya Devrat in areas of public interest such as zero budget farming, cleanliness drive, 'Beti Bachayo Abhiyan,' protection 'Goa Vansh', drive against drug abuse etc. He said that the State was honoured and lucky to have a guiding force like Acharya Devvrat. He said that recently a team of Minister and Officers had visited Gurukul of Acharya Devvrat at Kurukshetra to understand the natural farming.Shri Thakur said that the State Government in its first Cabinet meeting has decided to constitute cabinet sub-Committee to propose measures for promotion of 'Gau Vansh'. He said that this step would go a long way in promotion of local cows for benefit of zero budget natural farming.
In addition the State Government has also purposed to amend the 'H.P. Religious Endowments and Temple Trust Act' so as to earmark at least 15 per cent of offerings in the temples towards construction, maintenance and running of 'Gau-Sadans'. He said in addition, the cess of Re.1 per bottle also proposed to be levied on every bottle of liquor sold for 'Gau-Vansh' protection. All these steps would act as major steps to encourage Zero Budget Natural Farming in the State, he said.The Chief Minister said that the State Government would also promote zero budget natural horticulture in the State and farmers and extension staff of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry Departments would be trained in this farming. He said that for the first time in the history of the State 28 new schemes have been included in the budget proposed for the year 2018-19 and special focus has been laid on agriculture and horticulture.Shri Thakur said that Prime Minister Shri Narinder Modi has also stressed on adopting ZBNF, as it could help in achieving the target of the Government to double the income of the farmers by the year 2022.The Governor and Chief Minister also visited the exhibition stalls set up by Agriculture department, where organic products were displayed.Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture gave power point presentation on organic farming and said that as far as use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides were concerned, the position was much better in Himachal as compare to the national level. He said that 59 kg chemical fertilizers per hectare were being used in the state as compare to 141kg per hectare at national level.
Similarly, 158 gm per hectare of pesticides were being used in the state as compare to 1164 gm per hectare in Punjab. He added and said that near about 40000 farmers were engaged in organic farming.Dr. T. Vijay Kumar, Agriculture Advisor to Government of Andhra Pradesh thanked the Chief Minister for introducing natural farming model to save the problem of farmers and added that agriculture science practices prevailing today was not suitable for climate change. He said that natural farming lowers the cost of production and increase the field for short and long term besides increasing soil fertility, increases water holding, soil porosity, ecobalance and eco protection.Dr. J.P. Saini, Head of the Department of Organic Farming, Agriculture University, Palampur shared success stories of farmers who adopted natural farming in Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Rajiv Bindal, Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha, Cabinet Ministers Shri Suresh Bhardwaj, Shri Anil Sharma, Smt. Sarveen Chaudhary, Shri Vipin Parmar, Shri Varinder Kanwar and Shri Govind Singh Thakur, former Ministers and MLAs, Chief Secretary Shri Vineet Chaudhary, Additional Chief Secretary cum Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Smt. Manisha Nanda, H.C. Sharma, Vice Chancellor Horticulture Unviersity, Nauni (Solan), Prof. Ashok Saryal, VC, Agriculture University Palampur, other senior officers of the state government, prominent people and progressive farmers were also present on the occasion.