Himachal Pradesh targets 30,000-acre expansion in natural farming”
Shimla, May 24
In a recent review meeting of the Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y), Secretary of Agriculture, Rakesh Kanwar, emphasized the need to expand the area under natural farming in Himachal Pradesh. The state government aims to bring an additional 30,000 acres of land under natural farming during the 2023-24 Kharif season.
With the existing number of farmers practicing natural farming reaching 1.59 lakh, the total area under this sustainable agricultural practice stands at approximately 50,000 acres. Recognizing the potential of natural farming, Secretary Rakesh Kanwar urged officials to collaborate closely with farmers and encourage area expansion ahead of the upcoming Kharif season.
Also read: Himachal Pradesh focuses on consolidating natural farming practices to benefit farmers
During the meeting, Kanwar directed officials to develop a millet production plan for the Kharif season and ensure timely availability of millet seeds to the farmers. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of organizing regular interactions between experienced natural farmers and those new to the technique, allowing for knowledge exchange and increased awareness
To further promote natural farming, officials were instructed to identify areas where individuals are willing to adopt this approach voluntarily and develop strategies to declare them as natural villages, panchayats, or at any appropriate level.
Secretary Kanwar also emphasized the need to assess the production of natural apples and effectively market them to prospective buyers. This measure aims to enhance marketing linkages for the state’s natural produce.
Naresh Thakur, the State Project Director of PK3Y, highlighted that 52,000 farmers have already been certified for natural produce through a self-certification method devised under the program. However, the target remains to certify all existing farmers.
Thakur further suggested the inclusion of NGOs and Farmer Producer Organizations in the certification process for agriculture and horticulture produce. He also recommended the establishment of a mechanism to certify processed products such as desi cow ghee and fruit jam, which would enhance their marketability.
The review meeting was attended by Project Directors (ATMA) from various districts, along with officials from the State Project Implementing Unit of PK3Y in Shimla. Notable attendees included Director of Agriculture, Dr. Rajesh Kaushik, Joint Director of PK3Y, Dr. Ravinder Singh Jasrotia, and Deputy Director of PK3Y, Dr. Mohender Singh Bhawani.