Skip to main content

Gajarat govt admits failure to promote organic farming, regrets excessive use of chemicals, water and soil erosion

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government on Saturday announced an organic farming policy, becoming the ninth state to have done so in India. The states that have already put in operation respective organic farming policies are Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The policy document admits, the state government was forced to do it because of the failure to promote organic farming in Gujarat so far.
Identifying major hurdles in the development of organic farming, the document emphasizes, there has been "lack of organized market support system, quality organic agro-inputs, professionally trained human resource, produce quality assurance, demonstration and training facilities", all of which have restricted "growth of the sector."
It underlines, "Limited efforts have been made to document the experiences, data base and achievements. It is widely observed that there is a great need of 'hand holding service' during the conversion period of initial three years including technological, market support, social and emotional support." All this has happened despite the fact that "organic farming is a vast field with many sub fields and subjects."
Pointing to the reason behind the policy, the document says, there is finally a recognition of "the adverse impact of excessive use of chemicals on soil health and human health", and realization that "organic farming addresses soil health, human health and environmental health and is eco-friendly". Hence, it "appears to be one of the options for sustainability", the document adds.
Refusing to give three cheers to Gujarat agriculture, even though it is projected by Government of India as a "sucess model, the policy says, there has been an "indiscriminate and excessive use of chemicals" in the recent period, putting a "a question mark on sustainability of agriculture in the long run". It adds, this has called for the need for "attention for sustainable production" for addressing "social, ecological and economical issues."
The problem has for further aggravated because "in Gujarat 68.43% of land is undergoing desertification", the document underlines, adding, "The most significant process is water erosion (34.64%) followed by salinasation (14%) vegetal degradation (13.97%) and erosion (2.77%)." It goes on to add, "Ground water of 31 talukas are over exploited, 22 districts have nitrate more than permissible level."

Pointing out that it is against this backdrop the Gujarat government has come up with the organic farming policy, the document says, at this stage, it would focus mainly on "field crops, horticultural crops, forestry and animal husbandry."

It announces the setting up of a Gujarat Organic Production Certification Agency (GOPCA), a society under aegis of Department of Agriculture, where those seeking advantage of the policy -- market and subsidy support -- would required to be accredited.

"The new policy shall compensate registered organic producers by subsidizing 25-75% of the certification fee under individual farm certification", the policy says, adding, "Only organically certified produce with due traceability can only be supported under the policy."

The document speaks of giving interest subsidy as well, but without quantifying it. It merely says, "Interest subsidy shall be provided to the farmers, farmer’s producer’s organizations, organic processing units to minimize the burden of loan at during conversion period and for infrastructure development."

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”