Government move to promote organic farming
PATNA: The state government has embarked on a major vegetable initiative to provide subsidies to farmers for taking up organic farming of vegetables and to check rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on vegetable farms.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh said that the initial step was taken in 2010-11 under a policy for cluster development for organic vegetable farming at Sohdih in Nalanda district. The results were positive and led to certification of organic farming in 500 hectares last year in Nalanda, Patna and Vaishali districts.
The positive results prompted the government to launch organic farming of vegetables with brand name of JaiB in a big way in these three districts by increasing the organic farming areas to 6,000 hectares. This initiative will continue for the next four years and incentives and subsidies would be given to the farmers to take up organic farming of vegetables across the state, he said, adding that protecting the health of people from adverse effects of pesticides was important. Besides, a diara (riverine) development scheme has also been launched to take up organic farming in 8,570 hectares of land in diara areas of Patna, Nalanda, Sheikhpura and Vaishali districts, Singh said.
Government’s agriculture specialist Anil Kumar Jha said that under vegetable initiative, the farmers are being provided 75 per cent subsidy for taking up organic farming. He said that a national-level agency will provide certification for the vegetables grown using organic farming. Branding of such vegetables would enhance their market value. Such vegetables are available in some markets in Patna town on pull carts and power carts which have coolant facilities to keep the vegetables fresh and well preserved, Jha said. An NGO has taken up this job, he said, adding that cent per cent subsidies are being provided for running 200 pull and power carts with coolant facilities in three districts. The government is contemplating to open kiosks for marketing organic vegetables, he added.
Under this initiative, 50 per cent Central government subsidy is available to organic farmers for creating greenhouse and shed. The state government is providing 40 per cent subsidy for organic farming to farmers from its own resources. So 90 per cent subsidy is available for creating greenhouses and shed. Initially, the subsidies would be given for creation of 62 green houses and poly houses.
A Central government undertaking, Small Farmers Agriculture Business Consortium (SFAC), will organize the organic vegetable farmers into groups and help the government in transforming these farmers into entrepreneurs. The SFAC will act as a link between the farmers and big agencies for marketing their organic farm produce. The SFAC has assigned the job of market analysis survey of the organically produced vegetables to the Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative Ltd.