‘Make organic farming concept, practices clear’

Farmers, researchers and stakeholders have suggested that it would be rational to delineate the suitable crops and localities that could be brought under fully organic farming.

They have called it an option preferable to declaring the entire Kasargod district as organic.

They were speaking at a workshop on ‘Transition to Organic Farming in Kasargod District – Status and Strategies’ at the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasargod.

‘Categorise’

They said, “The remaining crops in the district should be categorised into different zones such as a zone which is to be cultivated with safe-to-eat food concept, eco-friendly cultivation zone and low priority zone for implementing organic farming interventions. The policies and programmes have to be formulated to facilitate this approach.”

Speaking further, they said, “The concept and standard practices for ‘Organic Agriculture’ as suited to the district are to be made clear by the government agencies implementing or propagating organic farming and the farmers are quite often confused as to which set of practices to be adopted.”

The participant farmers said that factors like lack of availability of quality organic inputs and high cost, lack of marketing facilities for organic produce and lack of extension support to adopt authentic package practices for organic cultivation were the major constraints to adopt organic farming Kasargod.

The farmers also perceived problems like non-availability of premium price for organic produce, low yield of crops in organic farming during the conversion period, non-availability of labour and high wage as constraints.

“Strict measures of quality control should be implemented to ensure quality of organic inputs supplied to the farmers in the district and an analytical laboratory for testing quality of organic manures needs to be established in the district,” said the farmers.

They also urged the scientists to evolve organic methods for the control of pests and diseases.

Presentations

Dr C Thamban, principal scientist, CPCRI, made a presentation on the findings of the research project on organic farming in Kasargod district. The research project covered farmers representing various agro-ecological units and cropping systems prevalent in the district, extension personnel of the Department of Agriculture, agricultural scientists from the Kerala Agricultural University and the CPCRI.

The results of the research project indicated a necessity to revisit the policy and programmes being implemented for promotion of organic farming in the district.

The workshop was conducted as a collaborative programme involving the Department of Agriculture, the Harithakeralam Mission and the CPCRI.

The workshop was inaugurated by A G C Basheer, president, Kasaragod District Panchayat. Dr Anitha Karun, director in-charge of CPCRI, presided over the programme.

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‘Make organic farming concept, practices clear’

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