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Gujarat Struggles to Boost Organic Farming Despite Centre's Push

The stagnant organic farming in Gujarat questions the government's commitment to sustainability. Authorities must address farmer challenges and promote organic farming for environmental and health benefits.

Shivam Dwivedi
Gujarat Struggles to Boost Organic Farming Despite Centre's Push (Photo Source: Pexels)
Gujarat Struggles to Boost Organic Farming Despite Centre's Push (Photo Source: Pexels)

Gujarat has lagged behind in the expansion of organic farming despite the Central government's efforts to promote it nationwide. Over the past six years, there has been no significant increase in the land area dedicated to organic farming in Gujarat, raising concerns about the state's commitment to sustainable agriculture.

With a total cultivated land area of around 9,60,000 hectares in Gujarat, a mere 32092.51 hectares are currently used for organic cultivation. This figure has remained stagnant since 2016, indicating a lack of enthusiasm among farmers for transitioning to organic farming practices.

The Central government introduced the 'Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana' (PKVY) to incentivize and promote organic farming across the country. Under this scheme, more than 10,27,865 organic agricultural farmers have been registered from various states. However, Gujarat seems to be an exception, as none of its farmers are registered under the PKVY program.

Furthermore, the Gujarat government, despite having its own organic farming strategy, has failed to attract and motivate farmers to adopt organic farming practices. Disturbingly, according to the Lok Sabha's response on March 21, 2023, the Central government did not allocate any funds to Gujarat in 2021-2022 under the PMKY scheme, citing slow progress in fund utilization.

Parthiv Raj Kathwadia, spokesperson for the Gujarat Congress, expressed concern about the situation, stating that Gujarat had not received any funds in the previous fiscal year. He further revealed that according to the Lok Sabha reply, the Gujarat government had not spent a single penny to attract or encourage organic farming farmers.

To address the issue, the Gujarat government established the Gujarat Natural Farming and Organic Agricultural University six years ago with the aim of guiding and encouraging farmers in the state to embrace organic farming. However, Dr. C.K. Timbadia, Vice Chancellor of the university, noted that farmers in Gujarat are showing more interest in natural farming rather than organic farming.

Dr. Timbadia explained that natural farming, especially cow-based natural farming, had gained popularity among Gujarat farmers. He further mentioned that there were currently 5,37,000 farmers practising natural farming, covering an area of 5.17 thousand hectares.

He also mentioned that the certification process for organic farming has not made significant progress, whereas natural farming certification is handled by a government committee. This situation has led to a shift among Gujarat farmers from organic farming to natural farming as the popularity of the latter continues to grow.

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