In order to boost organic farming in Uttarakhand and develop it as a ‘fully organic state,’ the Centre has sanctioned Rs 1,500 crore for the next three years.
According to the Hindu BusinessLine, the amount was sanctioned by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh when Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat met him in New Delhi.
Subodh Uniyal, Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister, spoke to the Hindustan Times and said that said funds “have started flowing in to pave the way to give a fillip to organic farming even as the state government had initiated steps,” to legalise the alternative agricultural system.
The state also plans to introduce two dedicated laws for this purpose—the Organic Agriculture Bill and the Nursery Management Bill—which will be enacted in the assembly’s budget session that would commence by March end.
The Organic Agriculture Bill, once enacted, will provide legal backing to the government’s efforts which aim to develop the region as a full-fledged organic state. Private parties have been roped in to provide seeds and plants to farmers.
These parties will have to register themselves, under a proposed law, which is said to have strict provisions to punish those who use chemical fertilisers or pesticides in areas where organic farming is being practised. Farmers will also need to get their products certified by the designated agencies.
The aim is to establish Uttarakhand’s agricultural produce as a distinct brand, so the mountain state can export organic produce internationally, something that will benefit the local farmers and double their income.
The proposed Nursery Management Bill will also have strict provisions, and will severely punish those who dupe farmers with substandard saplings and seeds.
Even as the government is attempting to legalise organic farming, it plans to develop nearly 10,000 organic clusters in the mountain region, under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, a centrally-funded scheme.
This project will boost the income of five lakh farmers, and under this scheme, clusters of organic seeds, vegetables, myriad fruits, different types of crops including Basmati rice besides those of herbs and medicinal plants would be developed. Additionally, there is a plan to develop 500 clusters of high-density apples so that Uttarakhand can match Himachal Pradesh’s apple production.
The State Government also plans to initiate a project for the development of an Integrated Model of Agricultural Village. Each cluster will get facilities, like cold-storage units, sorting-grading units, and farm machinery banks, so that the farmers can access modern equipment, to increase their agricultural productivity.