Bhubaneswar, Aug 30: Odisha has been a game changer in organic farming. The state has taken up this pattern of natural farming in 1.37 lakh hectares of land with the youth showing interest in it following market demand.
Five years ago, the state government introduced Odisha Organic Farming Policy in 2018. It has been targeted to cover 2 lakh hectares of land under organic farming through a combination of activities in agriculture, horticulture, forest, and pasture lands within a period of 5 years in the first phase.
The pattern of assistance to promote organic farming is Rs 10.00 lakh for a single patch of 50 acres, which may change from time to time.
Now, organic farming has scaled up both as a sustainable and economically viable, alternate methodology for farmers of Odisha.
The Centre is promoting natural farming since 2019-2020 through a sub-scheme namely Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
The scheme has been implemented in eight states including Odisha. It mainly emphasizes on exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching, use of cow dung-urine formulations, and other plant-based preparations.
The states will be provided Rs 4645 crore by 2025 at Rs 10 lakh per 1000 hectares for natural farming under the scheme.
Under BPKP, financial assistance of Rs 12200/ha for 3 years is provided to farmers for cluster formation, capacity building, and continuous handholding by trained personnel, certification, and residue analysis.
Natural farming does not use any synthetic chemical inputs and uses on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching, use of cow dung-urine formulations, and other plant-based preparations, said Professor Alok Patra of Agronomy Department in the Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT).
The Odisha government included the promotion of traditional farming with BPKP in 2020. It has also been adopted under the 'Millet Mission'.
The state agriculture department will invest Rs 312 crore in traditional and natural farming in tribal-dominated districts during the next five years, said an official.