Absence of market deters organic farming
Amit Kumar Jain (28) from Akaltara has left a well-paying career in computer solutions and is now practicing farming in Janjgir district. Besides paddy, Jain has also cultivated green vegetables in his field - all organically grown. “But there is a lot of risk,” Jain says.
Breaking away from chemical farming and embracing organic agriculture was strongly evident in the farmers who participated in the on-going National Agricultural Science Fair’ Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Mela’ in the city. However, what is stopping the farmers to take a full-fledged leap into organic farming is the absence of dedicated markets for organic produce and a minimum support price from the State Government.
“Horticulture is run on market force as Government does not provide any support price for vegetables. I am eager to start organic practices on my land but I need initial support from the Government and markets at least district level,” says Deepak Chandrakar who practices farming in Dhamtari. He cultivates paddy and vegetable in his 40-acre field.
A group of farmers from Lormi in Mungeli district said that their total output was decreasing year by year. “We know it is because our soil is constantly exposed to pesticides and fertilisers,” they say.
Another farmer Sukalu Gandharv from Champa district says that he has bought a few cows, set up a gobar gas plant, solar system and drip irrigation mechanism. “I use cow dung in my fields and use the farm produce to feed my animals. I will soon start a vermicompost and use paddy straw for the compost. A lot of effort goes into organic farming in the initial few years and it is tough to survive without some external support,” Gandharv said.
The mela is organised by the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University in collaboration with Agriculture department of the State Government.
“Farmers in thousands from all the 27 districts of the State participated in the four-day fair that is concluding on Tuesday,” said Information and Public Relations Officer KK Sahu. More than 100 stalls were set up where farmers learnt about using polythene for better water management, drip irrigation, oil producing seeds, pulses, dairy farming, apiculture, fishery, machinery and equipment, cultivation of medicinal plants and others.
Various food products grown inside the university like seeds, saplings, farming equipment were put on display during the fair. Products like jam, jelly, murraba, nectar, mushroom, cashew, raagi malt, multi grain flour, pickles and plants were up for sale during the four-day fair.
An exhibition-cum-sale of farming equipment was also a part of the fair. To promote farming of scented wheat, a group of farmers from Balrampur had also set up their stall in the fair.
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