Joint Director of Agriculture Department H Kempegowda said 4,512 organic farmers in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikkamagaluru districts will receive organic certification from Karnataka State Organic Certification Agency.
Speaking at the organic agricultural fair organised to create awareness on organic produce by the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments at Kadri Park here on Tuesday, he said Organic Farmers’ Regional Federation, comprising 44 groups of organic farmers, has been formed in three districts through the Agriculture Department.
As many as 2,872 organic farmers have registered in Chikkamagaluru district under the federation and there are 1,008 farmers in Dakshina Kannada and 632 in Udupi district. The process of organic farming certification of the members is in progress in the three districts, he added.
He said, “Organic certification is a three-year project started by the government with an objective to make farmers sell their produce with their brand names. In the first year, registered farmers' groups will be given training in methods of organic farming and they will be provided information on government schemes.” Gowda said area under organic cultivation in the three districts is 6,240 hectares, including 4,483 hectares in Chikkamagaluru, 1,102 hec-tares in Dakshina Kannada and 655 hectares in Udupi districts.There are 27 groups of organic farmers in Chikkamagauru, 11 in Dakshina Kannada and 6 in Udupi districts, he added.
Speaking after inaugurating the programme, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said labour shortage, hike in wages, lack of water, instrusion of saltwater during summer and flood during monsoon have affected agriculture in the district. Paddy fields have been converted into layouts.As a result, the area of land under agriculture has declined drastically in the district. The excessive use of fertilisers has affected the fertility of the soil, he observed.
He said that agriculture can never be considered as a loss sector.
An officer said that about 5,000 soil samples have been tested under the Union government’s Soil Health Mission in the district. The process of issuing soil health cards to farmers are on. As many as 9,763 soil samples have been collected so far.
The target is to collect 27,089 soil samples from 2,09,000 small, medium and large land-holding farmers from across the district. The samples are tested for pH value, nutrients and levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The soil health card mentions the specific fertiliser to be used by the farmer to increase the fertility of the soil, he added.
He said the soil testing helps farmers to know the fertility status of the soil. Then, the overuse of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium can be prevented. If the farmers want to go for multicropping, they can get information about requirements for such crops. The soil health card helps in preventing soil losing fertility, which reduces plants resistance to diseases, he explained.
A pamphlets on ‘Organic Farming’, ‘Mechanisation in Paddy Cultivation and ‘Custom Hiring Centres for Machineries’ were released on the occasion. A vehicle to create awareness on various programmes of the government to promote agriculture under Krishi Abhiyan was flagged off.
The vehicle will travel to all the gram panchayats. Apart from this, there will be a demonstration on Bordeaux mixture to check fruit rot disease affecting arecanut.Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shantigodu, Vice President Kasturi Panja, DC A B Ibrahim, ZP CEO P I Sreevidya, progressive farmer Prabhakar Mayya and others were present.