– The directive came within a week of Modi’s speech on the relevance of zero-budget natural farming
The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has issued a notification to all ICAR institutes and vice-chancellors of agriculture universities to take initiatives for the promotion of natural farming in India.
The education division of ICAR will develop a curriculum in consultation with agriculture universities and subject experts to include zero-budget natural farming in the syllabus at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, according to the circular dated December 22, 2021.
“It has also been highlighted to develop the syllabus on zero-budget natural farming and incorporate it in the textbooks at the undergraduate / postgraduate level,” SP Kimothi, ICAR’s assistant director-general, noted. He was responding to the communication from the Cabinet Secretariat announcing the cabinet’s decision to promote natural farming.
Taking a step towards capacity building in natural farming, Kimothi wrote to the directors of all ICAR institutes and vice-chancellors of agriculture universities, saying:
Research, demonstration and training on natural farming shall be carried out mandatorily by the concerned ICAR institutes, SAUs and CAUs. Further, CAUs, AUs, concerned ICAR institutes and KVKs of the Country shall earmark a dedicated portion of the available land for natural farming and demonstrate technology among the farmers and other stakeholders.
The issue was also emphasised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation during the valedictory function of the ‘Vibrant Gujarat Summit’ on December 16, 2021, according to the circular.
This directive came within a week of Modi’s speech on the relevance of zero-budget natural farming. The parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, however, complained in the Lok Sabha in March 2021 that the government has ignored crucial recommendations by the committee on how to procure cow dung from farmers to boost organic farming and solve the menace of stray cattle.
“Procuring cattle dung directly from the farmers will augment their income and provide employment opportunities,” the recommendation noted. It will also address the problem of stray cattle and promote organic farming in the country, the Committee said.
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