India risks becoming like Sri Lanka if it relies solely on organic farming: Palekar.
As the Centre refocuses on the issue, Padma Shri awardee Subhash Palekar, who became synonymous with natural farming three years ago, has warned that India risks becoming like Sri Lanka if it relies solely on organic farming. Surat’s concept calls for village-level committees to encourage organic farming.
Palekar continues to be skeptical of alternative organic or natural agricultural practices. He claims that his method, known as Subhash Palekar Krushi (SPK), is unlike any other natural or organic agricultural system.
Palekar, who lives in Amravati, made headlines in 2019 when Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recognized him in her Budget address while advocating for zero-budget natural farming.
Only Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh governments, according to the expert, have organized farmer training courses in the last three years. The Centre has not asked him for assistance in marketing the SPK pattern.
‘When Anil Bonde of Amravati became Maharashtra’s agricultural minister, he attempted to arrange a meeting with the state government. For various reasons, the meeting did not take place,’ he explains.
Palekar claims that there is complete uncertainty about natural farming at the moment. He stated that there is nothing like cow-based farming. He claims that he does not advocate it in his own manner.
‘The cow has a limited role in my strategy. Jeevamruta, a cow dung-based concoction, is used to create humus in the soil. Its function ends there. The soil takes in nutrients from the bacteria on its own after that. It is not possible to farm entirely on cows,’ he argues.
Palekar also criticized organic farming, claiming that it will lead the country down the path of Sri Lanka. This is due to the high cost of organic farming inputs, and the return does not justify the expense. According to him, organic farming produces a large number of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.
At the same time, he claims that natural farming, which involves using no inputs and relying solely on nature, is not practical. Certain inputs are utilized in SPK, which distinguishes it from other theories, according to Palekar. The inputs are required to revitalize the soil that has been weakened by the green revolution.
Palekar was called to the university to show his method, according to VM Bhale, vice-chancellor of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyalaya. Palekar claims he has not received any formal correspondence on the subject.
‘Although the institution promotes organic farming, it essentially favors an integrated strategy. Organic farming may provide optimal results, but not maximum yield. Farmers must have a high yield in order to profit, and an integrated approach combining both strategies can help,’ stated Bhale. (Therese inputs from a news agency.)