Punjab farmers getting drawn to natural farming

June 9th, 2009 - 11:09 pm ICT by ANI  

By Avtar Gill

Abohar, June 9 (ANI): Many farmers in Punjab are doing away with the usage of pesticides and fertilizers and increasingly taking to natural farming methods for better financial returns.

Natural farming helps to preserve the environment. The usage of pesticides and fertilizers in farms has raised farming costs.

Attraction for natural farming is picking up mostly in Faridkot, Bathinda and Ferozepur districts, where farmers were in debt and had their farms almost ruined.

Taking to natural farming has enabled farmers to keep the soil pest-free.

Practices like mixed cropping and mulching have also helped to maintain nutrient balance and to bring down water consumption by 40 per cent.

Vinod Jayani and Tilak Raj are two successful farmers of Ferozepur District, who have achieved success through natural farming.

“I started natural farming because I wanted to contribute towards saving the environment and mother earth. Chemical farming is very harmful. There is no benefit at all in chemical farming. One, it is very expensive, and two, it turns out to be poisonous for the farmers who have to perpetually spend their time in the fields,” says Tilak Raj, one farmer.

“Bio-diversity has a major role to play in natural farming. If you take a look at the farms you see a number of insects, trees and birds. Chemical farming destroys the ecology. The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers has killed birds, insects and animals in the farm. But in three years, I have planted many trees and plants using natural farming techniques. Now, there are all kinds of insects in my field. Birds are coming to my fields. They have started living in harmony with nature,” says Vinod Jayani, another farmer.

Around a thousand farmers in Punjab have already taken to natural farming and many others are getting drawn to it due to its low cost and high returns. With this, farmers not only get a better yield at cheaper rates, they get much higher prices for their crop, as it is free of pesticides.

Moreover, with the popularity of natural farming products mounting, the Punjab Agricultural University is promoting natural farming in a big way.

“We are developing some organic systems in wheat and some other crops but it is still not that much because there are some problems linked with the production of organic farming. When we talk of producing for the burgeoning population, our target is a high bulk crop. Though with the other technology available, the quality we have to maintain but when we want to feed the millions we think that we should have enough of production, enough of foodgrain production, enough of vegetables and consumable products for the population. So there the scope of organic farming is limited,” said Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Agriculture expert.

When natural farming was being promoted in Punjab, many farmers initially did not buy the idea. But negligible input costs and better quality yields are presently changing their previous mindset.

With a global ecological disaster looming on the horizon due to the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals–fertilizers and pesticides–food security is under threat.

It is feared that it can even cause serious economic implications.

In fact, it has become an important reason why many of the farmers have switched from organic to natural farming.

Going the `natural way’, Punjab’s farmers have perhaps made a beginning in the right direction. (ANI))

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