Organic farming gains ground in Sundargarh
Sundargarh: Active use of indigenous seeds and organic products in various gram panchayats (GPs) of Balishankara and Sadar blocks has prompted the Agriculture Department to consider including the blocks in Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Several tribal farmers of the two blocks have been experimenting with indigenous seeds and organic farming with help from Sundargarh-based Centre for Integrated Rural and Tribal Development (CIRTD). For the last couple of years, several farmers’ clubs comprising around 1,050 members through seed exchange fairs have also been promoting use of indigenous seeds, organic manure and pesticide.
To study the farmers’ mood, Sundargarh Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDS) RN Satpathy and DDA (Plant Protection) LD Behera visited nine villages of Balishankara block and five villages of Sadar block. They interacted with the farmers about traditional practices of agriculture, inspected soil condition and process for preparing organic manures and pesticide.
CIRTD sources said, about 2,000 hectares in the blocks are being covered under organic farming with a target to expand to more areas to get rid of ‘chemical farming’. Compared to hybrid seeds, the traditional seeds are cheap, easy to preserve and can be used for longer period, the agriculture officials said.
Organic farming cultivators apply less expensive organic manures along with organic pesticide prepared from cow urine, leaves of neem, karanja, arakha, bel and custard apple and molasses to enhance micro nutrients of soil, enhance water retention capacity and fertility of soil.
Satpathy said, farmers of the two blocks are gradually adopting organic forming and to encourage them, they will supply seeds for ‘Ragi’ cultivation in upcoming kharif season.
The department is also taking steps to encourage farmers to divert from paddy cultivation in drought-prone high-land areas and seeds of ‘Ragi’, ‘Arhar’ and maize would be supplied to all types of farmers owning high-land to cover about 5,000 acres in the district.
First published by the Indian Express