The Agriculture Ministry is ready for a new centralized program to promote domestic natural farming at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore. The senior government has said that the new scheme for natural farming will soon be placed before the cabinet for approval.
The new scheme emphasized the need to continue looking for alternatives to existing fertilizer and pesticide-based agriculture as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the National Conference on Natural Agriculture in Gujarat last December.
The new scheme is focused on the adoption of complementary and cluster approaches and further plans to go on intensive handholding of farmers practising natural farming, marketing of the produce and providing extension services.
The objective of the scheme is not the conversion of chemical farming but promoting natural farming in areas where chemical farming has not reached yet. The Union Budget for 2022 announced that the government would promote chemical-free natural agriculture nationwide, starting with fields in the 5 km corridor along the river Ganga.
According to Niti Aayog, natural farming is a chemical-free alias of traditional farming methods. It is considered an agroecology based diversified farming system, which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity.
Natural farming is promoted as Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati Programme in India under the centrally sponsored scheme Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. The BPKP programme is adopted in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.