Agriculture

Govt asked to provide realistic details on Organic farming

Parliament Panel asks Centre to bring out a comprehensive policyrnon organic farming and well defined strategy
Govt asked to provide realistic details on Organic farming

Union Agriculture Ministry is facing to a tough task to justify its claims about area, production among others on Organic Farming in the country. By February, 2016, the time given to the government is over. The Committee on Estimates (2015-16) Report on ‘National Project on Organic Farming” was submitted to Lok Sabha on August 10, 2015.

“The Committee should like to be apprised of the action taken on each of their recommendation within six months of the presentation of this report to Lok Sabha,” the Report said.

The government has not provided action taken report to the Committee so far. Neither it has come out with a comprehensive policy on organic farming and and well defined strategy on organic farming addressing all related issues.

The Estimate Committee headed by Murli Manohar Joshi had submitted the 9th Report on ‘National Project on Organic Farming’ pertaining to the Ministry of Agriculture in August 10, 2015.

The Committee pointed out in absence of clear cut demarcation of responsibilities between the Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce and Industry with respect to promotion of organic farming scheme, no-one seemed to take the overall responsibility for effective implementation of the scheme. Further, lack of integration and coordination among concerned Ministries/Departments/ICAR/Agriculture Universities/Krishi Vigyan
Kendras and other allied agencies, the promotion of organic farming could not receive
the desired impetus.

“The Report of the Committee is an eye-opener. The government’s data are misleading and it would be very interesting to note, how would Agriculture Ministry respond to the queries of the Committee,” S Ganesan, Advisor Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) said.

“While detailing state-wise consumption of bio pesticides, surprisingly there is no data available for Sikkim for the last four years and the state has been accorded 100 per cent organic status recently!,” he added.

On the basis of the Report of the Committee, the CCFI has pointed out many anomalies. The Government of India provides financial assistance of Rs. 20,000 in the form of inputs such as bio fertilizers, bio pesticides, bio seeds, etc. per hectare for farmers who wish to convert to organic farming during the transition period. The CCFI said that in absence of authentic data, it can be assumed safely that the assistance is not actually going to those who need and deserve it.

“The State-wise subsidy under Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme released
for Organic production units under National Project on Organic Farming (now subsumed
under NMSA) was furnished by Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture and Cooperation) and once again there is no data available since 2008 for Sikkim,” Ganesan pointed out. .

Chapter four of the Report deals with physical performance of Organic farming.
According to the Ministry’s data total area under Organic in 2013-14 was 723039 ha. Net area sown was just double of it including wild ( forest areas). In Sikkim 77,000 ha was sown.Interestingly, in Delhi area under organic was 12734 in 2009-10 and it was reduced to 265.82 in the next year and 0.83 in 2013-14. There is no data for net area sown in Delhi.

Pointing out the increase of 150 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 200 per cent in area under organic farming within one year by States like Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, the Ministry was requested to furnish as to how it could be possible. “ There was no specific reply from the Ministry,” the Committee said. .

‘…they be provided the specific reasons for wide fluctuation/variations in the data on organic cultivation in different states in different years and also the source of the data on organic farming State-wise and year-wise for the last five years,” the Report said..

Taking note of the candid admission of the representatives of Ministry of Agriculture that the efforts to promote various components of organic farming through various programmes have so far been disjointed and not able to achieve the envisioned outcomes, the Committee recommend that the National Project on Organic Farming be made a part of PKVY by suitably tempering with it farming techniques so as to fulfill the aspirational objectives of organic farming. 

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BK Jha is the Special Correspondent of Rural & Marketing. Prior to this he has been associated with The Hindustan Times, Political and Business Daily along with many other media organisations.
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