Karnataka initiates first-of-its-kind in-country, natural farming on 4,000 acres in KVKs
The government of Karnataka initiatives first-of-its-kind in the country to go for natural farming, growing crops without the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides on 4,000 acres, 1,000 acres of which will be in Krishi Vijnana Kendras affiliated with four universities of agriculture sciences across the state.
The decision was made in response to the rising demand for chemical-free fruits and vegetables. Also Read | ‘Zero budget natural farming’ ruse small farmers, hampers 30% yields, returns: AIKMS
Beginning this pre-monsoon season, the government will conduct a research study on chemical-free farming in collaboration with four agriculture universities located in Bengaluru, Dharwad, Raichur, and Shivamogga. Farmers will be educated on natural farming methods once the yield is high.
According to Agriculture Minister BC Patil, these universities have huge areas of land attached to them, and natural farming will be implemented on 1,000 acres on each campus. He went on to say that the emphasis would be on crops grown in specific regions.
Patil stated that farmers in the state grow a variety of crops such as pulses, jowar, paddy, ragi, areca nut, fruits, and vegetables. Depending on the climate and water availability, each region grows a different crop. ‘Scientists will grow crops using green leaves, neem, cow dung, and other naturally available items rather than chemical-based fertilizers and insecticides. We will begin cultivation at these universities in April and May, which is the pre-monsoon season. Once it has been proven to be successful, we will ask farmers in those areas to practice natural farming’ he added.
Natural farming is cheaper for farmers, according to experts, because they don’t have to spend money on chemical-based products. ‘Indians practiced natural farming for thousands of years with the help of age-old wisdom,’ said Srinivas Reddy, former director, and scientific officer of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).
Involving agricultural universities is a good idea
Former Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) director and scientific officer Srinivas Reddy stated, ‘Chemical farming has killed the flora and fauna, including insects and worms, that help maintain healthy soil. Natural farming can restore soil fertility and increase production. The carbon content has decreased dramatically. It’s either now or never.’
Reddy believes that involving agriculture universities in the study is a good idea. ‘The biggest challenge will be getting university research to farmers. Farmers will only adopt it if the results are better’ He continued.