• Over 1000 farmers from HP, Uttarakhand and J&K
A one-day state-level training programme on ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan’ was held at Village Baagi Gwas in Rohru on Saturday. Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The training was organized by the Department of Horticulture in association with Singh Apple Orchards, Baagi. The natural farming team of UHF Nauni provided technical support to the training. Over 1000 farmers from Himachal, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, scientists from the main campus of the University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Rohru and officers from the horticulture department took part in the event.
Pitching for more and more farmers to take up natural farming, Dr Kaushal said that the farming model suits the environment of the state and the farmers can benefit from increased income due to low input cost while the consumers will easily get healthy foodstuff.
Calling for people’s participation in making Himachal a role model in natural farming, Dr Kaushal said, “We have to make natural farming a mass movement because the excessive use of chemicals has reduced the fertility of the soil. The way we produce our food need to be changed. Besides productivity, we also need to look at the quality of the food that we produce.” said Dr Kaushal.
He added that the university would establish a dedicated task force and protocol for the propagation and promotion of Subhash Palekar Natural Farming at the main campus, research stations and the KVKs of the university. Dr Kaushal said that over 600 natural farming demonstration models will be established in all the districts of the state through the KVKs and research stations of the university. Moreover, experts from the university’s main campus at Nauni will carry out regular training of farmers and master trainers. Fifty farmers, five from each block, will be chosen to visit natural farming models in other states. Progressive farmers in natural farming will also be honoured by the university and made ambassadors of natural farming in the state.
Earlier, Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director Research said that it was very encouraging to see youngsters taking a keen interest in agricultural activities and leading a change in this direction. Dr Rajeshwar Chandel, Executive Director of the natural farming programme of the Himachal Government said that around 24 per cent people in the hill states were not practising agriculture and moving towards the plains as they were not getting the right value for their produce. He added that natural farming was an excellent solution, which can help to realize the goal of doubling farmers’ income. Jagat Singh ‘Jangli’, green ambassador of Uttarakhand government urged everyone to preserve the nature and the biodiversity of the region and called for greater attention towards the forest wealth.
Jitender Singh and his brother Joginder Singh, apple growers from Baagi shared their experiences of working on natural farming for the past two years. They also talked about the marketing of natural produce. Progressive farmers from the area were also honoured on the occasion.