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Scientific organic farming to double farmers income: Singh

New Delhi, Mar 21 (PTI) Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today pitched for scientific organic farming to double farmers income and sought stakeholders support to bring a revolution in this area.

India is the worlds largest organic farming country by default. Efforts are being made to ensure farmers adopt organic cultivation in a more scientific way to get better production and higher returns, he said.

Governments target is to double farmers income by 2022. The Dalwai Committee is looking into it and will soon recommend ways to achieve the target.

"Some wonder how will organic farming help in doubling farmers income. It is possible. ...Therefore, we are promoting organic farming in a more scientific way," Singh said addressing an Assocham event here.

While the government through programmes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is encouraging farmers to adopt organic farming, stakeholders support is also required at every level, he said.

"We need to bring a revolution in organic farming just like the Green Revolution. For this, government policies alone will not work. The society and all stakeholders will have to come forward and contribute," he added.

Expressing concern over poor soil health due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, the minister said urea consumption is likely to be halved by 2020 through neem-coated fertiliser.

Echoing similar views, green activist Vandana Shiva said it is possible to double farmers income by adopting organic farming. "Our work shows 10 times increase in the income of organic growers," she said.

Navadanya, an NGO co-founded by Shiva, has been promoting organic farming since 1984. It is now focusing on increasing nutritional level per hectare besides improving yields per hectare, she told PTI on the sidelines of the event.

She also claimed that farmers using chemical inputs were committing suicide and not those following organic farming.

"Not a single member of organic farming community in our organisation has committed suicide. Suicides are because of debt on chemical inputs," she added.

Meanwhile, an Assocham and EY report, which was released today said the government is optimistic about organic cultivation and farmers are encouraged through various schemes.

"However, there is a need to have an organic policy and organic cell to monitor such cultivation and schemes and to take necessary steps to discourage the use of fertilisers and pesticides," it said.

The report also recommended promotion of bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides to decrease the cost of production. PTI LUX ANU ANU