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Everything you need to know about Indian government’s National Mission on Natural Farming

28 March 2023, New Delhi: To motivate farmers to adopt chemical-free farming and enhance the reach of natural farming, the Government has formulated National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) as a separate and independent scheme from 2023-24 by upscaling the Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddati (BPKP). The success of NMNF will require a behavioral change in farmers to shift from chemical-based inputs to cow-based locally produced inputs and thus requires continuous creation of awareness, training, handholding, and capacity building of farmers in the initial years. The provision of Rs 459.00 crores for 2023-24 has been proposed after careful consideration and the requirement of an increase in budget is not anticipated at this stage.

The budget for fertilizer subsidy for 2023-24 has been kept at Rs 1,75,099 crore.

Natural Farming is a way of chemical-free farming based on desi cow and locally available resources, with no chemical fertilizers and pesticides and promotes traditional indigenous practices which give freedom to farmers from externally purchased inputs and is largely based on on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching, use of on-farm desi cow dung-urine formulation; managing pests through diversity, on-farm botanical concoctions and exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs directly or indirectly and emphasis is given on improving natural nutrient cycling and increase in organic matter in the soil, which can help with climate change resilience and carbon sequestration in soils.

“National Standard of Organic Production (NSOP) has defined organic agriculture as “a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem which can achieve sustainable productivity without the use of artificial off-farm input such as chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Organic farming is considered to be climate-friendly farming practice promoting low external input usage, recycling, reuse, and reduced use of synthetics in farming. Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) under its All India Network Programme on Organic Farming has developed a package of practices for organic production in cropping and farming systems mode.

Climate-smart agriculture is a broader concept that includes all environmentally friendly agricultural approaches like integrated farming systems, conservation agriculture, natural farming, organic farming, precision agriculture, regenerative agriculture, reclamation of degraded soils and reduced food loss and waste to achieve sustainable agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes-cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries-that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change. It aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible, and supports FAO strategic framework 2022-2031.

To make a global consensus on a broader concept, Government has opted for climate-smart agriculture rather than natural and organic farming in its priorities for the G20 agriculture working group.

Also Read: Diageo India launches regenerative agriculture program in Punjab and Haryana farmers

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