05 December 2022, New Delhi: The Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar today inaugurated the National Conference on Soil Health Management for Sustainable Farming. On this occasion, Mr. Tomar said that due to chemical farming and other reasons, soil fertility is getting eroded and climate change is going to be a big concern for the country as well as the world.
On World Soil Day, NITI Aayog in collaboration with GIZ affiliated to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany, Chief Guest Mr. Tomar said that the lack of organic carbon in the soil is a serious concern for us. To meet this serious challenge and for better soil health, we have to promote natural farming, which is beneficial for the environment.
The Government has re-adopted the Indian Natural Farming System for Agriculture. States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc. have made many innovations to promote natural farming.
Schemes to promote Natural Farming
During last year, an additional area of 4.78 lakh hectares has been brought under natural farming in 17 States. To promote natural farming, the Central Government has approved the National Mission on Natural Farming as a separate scheme with an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crores, Mr. Tomar said.
Under the Namami Gange programme, the project of natural farming is going on along the banks of the Ganges, while the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and all Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Central and State Agricultural Universities and Colleges are making all-round efforts to promote natural farming.
Mr. Tomar said that the Government of India is also working through Soil Health Card. In two phases, more than 22 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers across the country. Infrastructure development is also being done by the Government under the Soil Health Management Scheme, in which there is a provision to set up different types of Soil Testing Laboratories. So far, 499 permanent Soil Testing Laboratories, 113 Mobile Soil Testing Laboratories, 8,811 Mini Soil Testing Laboratories and 2,395 Village- level Soil Testing Laboratories have been established.
The Minister mentioned that there was a time when the policies were production-oriented, due to chemical farming, agricultural yield increased, but now the situation has changed, and with climate change, keeping soil health intact is a big challenge. He said that if an attempt is made to exploit the earth contrary to the principles of nature, the consequences can be dangerous. Today, due to chemical farming, the soil’s fertility is being eroded, the country and the world should avoid this and fulfill our environmental responsibility.
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