Govt intends to increase ‘natural farming’ subsidy by 50% by re-launching mission mode
The Centre intends to increase the subsidy on ‘natural farming’ by 50% by re-launching the programme on a mission mode in certain blocks without affecting food security, a worry raised by several experts following its failure in Sri Lanka. One cluster (of 500 hectares), divided into 1-2 blocks, will be taken up under the current strategy to inspire farmers.
In 2020-21, the Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP) was created as a sub-scheme of the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), under which the Centre distributes around ₹12,200/hectare over a three-year period for cluster creation, capacity building, and constant handholding.
Both the BPKP and the PKVY have been merged into the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana in the 2022-23 Budget (RKVY). Also Read | ‘Zero budget natural farming’ ruse small farmers, hampers 30% yields, returns: AIKMS
‘The existing level of subsidies support is insufficient to stimulate farmers, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has agreed to increase it. Depending on the scope of the roll-out, it might be approximately ₹18,000 per acre under the revised plan,’ a source said.
‘Though the objective is to cover 6,672 blocks throughout the country in phases over time with at least one cluster each, the first focus will be on those places that have been practising natural farming, and there is potential to meet the target as soon as possible,’ according to sources.
Organic and natural
However, few experts believe that natural farming subsidies assistance should be on par with organic farming, where farmers now earn ₹31,000-32,500 per hectare for three years.
‘In the global agricultural export market, India enjoys a first-mover advantage in the label ‘Natural.’ This opens up more chances for us. In terms of social and economic advantages, in addition to the Bharatiya idea, the label of ‘Natural’ in agriculture is wider and deeper than ‘Organic,’ said S Chandrasekaran, a foreign trade policy specialist.
Because the organic designation has developed, financial aid for natural farming should be equivalent to that for organic agriculture, he stressed. Also Read | Organic, zero-budget natural farming will be incorporated in Agri universities syllabus
‘The organic agriculture financial assistance scheme could be linked with APEDA’s Tracenet Certification Software, as it contains comprehensive and practising farmers, in order to create efficient utilisation,’ Chandrasekaran added.
According to the source, Simultaneously, criteria for crops produced via natural farming will be devised, and marketing will begin with separate export-oriented branding distinct from organic products. Positioning is critical in order to obtain a premium for natural agricultural products, which will be one of the primary motivators for farmers.