PM Modi: balancing between both chemical and natural farming will continue.
Following his demand for chemical-free farming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his Independence Day address to reassure the people that both natural farming and the use of chemical fertilizer will continue, potentially putting an end to concerns over India converting to organic farming.
‘Today, natural farming is also a way of becoming self-sufficient,’ Modi remarked. Today, nano fertilizer companies have given the country fresh hope. Natural farming and chemical-free farming, on the other hand, can increase self-sufficiency.’
He said that India has developed the world’s most progressive drone strategy. The Prime Minister also stated that new job prospects in the form of green jobs are rapidly emerging in the country.
In response to Modi’s mention of nano fertilizer, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited’s (IFFCO) managing director and CEO US Awasthi stated, ‘It is a subject of national pride. India’s most self-sufficient example. Today, nano fertilizer factories have offered fresh hope to the country,’ Fertiliser Minister Mansukh Manadviya tweeted. However, natural farming can help India become more self-sufficient.’
Nano urea is a revolutionary nano fertilizer developed in-house by IFFCO and made commercially available last year. It is made using an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient manufacturing process with lower carbon footprints. Its application to crops as foliar fertilization increases agricultural production by 8%, with comparable benefits in terms of better soil, air, and water, as well as farmer profitability, according to officials.
After 1.23 crore bottles were sold this year as of August 10, the government forecasts that 6 crore bottles of nano urea will be produced in FY23, equivalent to 27 lakh tonnes of conventional urea. Since its August introduction, 2.15 crore bottles have been sold in FY22. As the cheapest crop nutrient, India imports 90-100 lt of urea each year and spends thousands of crores on subsidies.
Exhorting farmers to use natural farming to safeguard the soil from the detrimental effects of pesticides, Modi stated last month that vegetables produced using this chemical-free approach would fetch higher prices in the international market due to increased demand for such healthy items. Modi has stated his belief that the Jan Andolan (People’s Movement) on natural farming will be a tremendous success in the coming days.
The industry’s perspective
Officials from the chemical fertilizer and pesticide industries believe that while natural farming is a nice idea, it cannot replace current practices because food security will be jeopardized. While proponents of natural farming believe that using bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides composed of cow dung and urine, among other ingredients, will not result in a decrease in output.
Modi also cited millets and linked coarse cereals to India’s heritage. The United Nations has declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets. The government has been pushing millet consumption in order to stimulate demand since the coarse grain is thought to be least affected by climate change, and secondly, water consumption by these crops – jowar, bajra, and ragi – is also quite low when compared to paddy.