September 1, 2015 4:10:02 am
The state government has decided to tackle malnutrition with the help of vegetarian sources of protein using good old traditional organic farming.
The government plans to divert several thousand hectares of land for farming of organic varieties of pulses in order to tackle the twin issues of protein malnutrition and unsustainable chemical fertilizer-based farming.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly emphasized promoting traditional and organic farming. The issue found mention in the Union as well as the state budget,” agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini told The Indian Express.
“The whole world is realizing the importance of sustainable agriculture that is in tune with nature. It is time we put in place mechanisms and infrastructure for promoting sustainable organic agriculture,” Saini said.
The ambitious plan, starting this year, will bring 50 hectares of agricultural land in each block of the state under organic pulses farming. The government will provide a subsidy of Rs 20,000 per hectare to promote organic farming. The produce will be certified organic and in five years, all agricultural markets (krishi mandis) would be required to sell at least one organic product.
Saini said the plan will help provide a vegetarian source of much-needed protein to millions of people who don’t consume other sources like egg, fish and meat to meet their protein requirements.
Eventually, the government intend to bring over 2,500 hectares under organic pulses farming over a five-year period, Saini said. “We will also provide other incentives to farmers so that they take up the practice. Three farmers will be selected for best agricultural practice and will be rewarded Rs 1 lakh each,” he said.
According to the data available with the Union ministry of agriculture, Rajasthan stands second in terms of production and area under pulses.
In order to expand the pulses footprint to the high-potential southern Rajasthan tribal belt, the ministry undertook dissemination of new pulses-based technologies under the tribal sub plan last year.
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