Govt aims to convert 6.5 lakh hectares of land to organic farming through PKVY.
The government intends to convert 6.5 lakh hectares of land in the country to organic farming through the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for the North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Tomar told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Tomar stated in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that 59.12 lakh hectares have already been converted to organic farming, as it is certified by the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS).
The Minister stated that India ranked fourth in the world in terms of certified areas, citing a study issued by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Statistics 2022.
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The United States (US), the European Union (EU), and Canada are the three most important markets for Indian organic products. In 2021-22, India exported 1.86 lakh tonnes (lt) of organic goods worth $326.15 million to the United States. The EU and Canada came in second and third, with 1.70 lt (worth $302.39 million) and 40,677 tonnes (worth $49.01 million), respectively.
Fruits from other countries
In response to a separate question about the promotion of exotic fruit cultivation in the country, Tomar stated that assistance is provided under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme for the promotion of exotic/foreign fruits in the country such as dragon fruit, kiwi, passion fruit, and so on.
According to him, assistance is provided under MIDH for the establishment of new hi-tech nurseries, small nurseries, tissue culture (TC) units, and the upgrading of existing TC units, for the production and distribution of high-quality seeds and planting material for fruit crops, including exotic/foreign fruits.
Kerala receives drone aid
In response to a question about the use of drones in agriculture, the Minister stated that the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has so far provided funds totaling ₹2.25 crore to the Kerala government for the purchase of 14 drones for demonstration in 4,000 hectares via farmer producer organizations. The department has also granted ₹52.50 crores to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for the acquisition of 300 drones and demonstrations on 75,000 hectares across the nation through 100 Krishi vijnan kendras and 75 ICAR institutes.
One Lok Sabha member inquired whether the output of several crops in east Asian nations, particularly China, is significantly higher than that of India. Tomar said that agricultural output is affected by a variety of elements, including weather extremes, rainfall, soil type, agro-climatic conditions, irrigation facilities, crop kinds, fertilizer and pesticide use, growing season duration, and the technology employed, and so on.
According to him, China and several other East Asian nations have greater production levels than India in some crop categories. At the same time, India’s production level in several crop categories exceeds that of China and some other East Asian countries. Farmers in India plant a variety of crops each year, he said.
Agricultural research and development
In response to a member’s question about agricultural research and development, Tomar stated that the ICAR Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) has developed a clear roadmap for the next 10 years, harnessing the power of science and innovation to ensure people’s food and nutritional security, farmers’ prosperity, and to enhance natural resource base to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development of the Indian agriculture sector.
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Genetic enhancement of plants, animals, and fish for higher productivity under the increased intensity of biotic and abiotic stresses; productivity advancement through sustainable farming and mechanization of agriculture and food system; and development of energy-efficient technologies and farming practices are among the research and development priorities.
Fodder for Livestock
In response to a separate question on the scarcity of straw fodder this year and the rise in its price, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying Parshottam Rupala remarked that scarcity of straw fodder is frequently observed in several States during the summer months. He also stated that the cost of straw fodder was greater than in previous months due to a lack of greens and increased demand for fodder.