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HP Guv bats for ‘zero-budget organic farming’, Haryana set

Haryana is all set to experiments with “zero-budget natural (organic) farming”, aimed at BJP’s agenda of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. “Successfully implemented” at Gurukul, Kurukshetra, on 175 acres by Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat, who hails from Haryana, the technique involves producing manure from urine and dung of “desi” cows. The experiment has been replicated in Himachal Pradesh, where it has been successfully adopted by over 30,000 farmers.

“With no initial cost, compared to an input of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per acre in terms of fertilisers and pesticides, this is a simple way out of farm indebtedness, besides making available healthy food,” the Himachal Governor told The Tribune. He has written a book for free distribution among farmers to adopt the technique of chemical-free cultivation developed and practiced by agriculturist Shubhash Palekar.

Research by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, in Karnataka has established that one “desi” cow can produce enough natural manure each day to cater to the needs of an acre of farm land, Acharya Devvrat said. The Himachal Governor, who also met Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar and Industries Minister Vipul Goel today, said Haryana Government had shown keen interest in adopting the natural (organic) farming. The Agriculture Minister has suggested that all villages in Haryana where 400 “gaushalas” are located should be turned into “model villages” where farmers can be trained to adopt the technique.

Goel, who also holds the Skill Development portfolio, suggested that unemployed youths can be imparted training and can then be further used to spread the word about the benefits and advantages of chemical-free farming. He has asked Governor Devvrat to hold such camps in Faridabad and Palwal. Devvrat said the use of cow urine and dung-based manure could rejuvenate the land that had lost its productivity within a few days.  About 50 acres at Gurukul, Kurukshetra, that had been given on lease had become non-productive due to prolonged use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, while the adjoining land that he was cultivating without the use of chemical products was yielding robust crops. The sugarcane grown in this land does not need to be re-sown as the stem can re-grow for 20 years from the same root.

Cow dung-based manure has between 300 and 500 crore beneficial organisms that help in soil rejuvenation. This also helps in the multiplication of earthworms that can go up and down the soil up to 20 feet, leading to oxygenation of the soil besides creating passages for recharging ground water. He said camps had been held in every district of Himachal. The scientists of two agriculture universities had acknowledged the benefits of this practice. Himachal was now moving towards chemical fertiliser-free agriculture on the pattern of Sikkim. In Sikkim, anyone found in possession of urea or DAP is fined Rs 5 lakh. In Haryana also, cow dung-based manure has been successfully used at Yamunanagar and Kaithal. The state contributes 13 crore quintal of paddy and wheat to the central pool valued at Rs 20,000 crore. This uses fertilisers worth Rs 4,000 crore, which can be saved if organic farming is adopted. Haryana has introduced a subsidy of Rs 20,000 per acre to be given over three years to those shifting to organic farming.

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