Andaman Agriculture dept trying to popularise organic farming

Port Blair, Oct 29 (PTI) The Agriculture department of the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is trying to popularise organic farming with the aim to convert the archipelago into organic island, a top official said.

Organic farming is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers and it also helps in bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection, Director of Agriculture, R V Singh told PTI.

"We are tying to create create awareness among the farmers and the consumers the benefit of organic farming," Singh said.

The aim is to convert the whole Union Territory into an organic farming island and in tune with this efforts are being made to create more awareness among farmers and consumers, he said.

The director of Agriculture said the department has already selected the Neil island to take up organic farming. Neil island which is located 37-km to the south of Andaman islands is known as the 'vegetable bowl' of the Andamans.

The Neil island has immense potential and is favourably placed for organic farming due to less use of chemical fertilisers and abundant species, the official said.

Currently, organic farming is being taken up on a small scale in about 321 hectares of the Union Territory, he said.

Even the Central Island Agricultural Research Institute (CIARI) has developed model coconut organic farms to showcase to farmers, Singh said.

Authorities have been working to train employees and implement a partnership guarantee model and organic markets are being developed through local marketing programmes so that organic produce can be made available to household consumers, the official said.

Meanwhile, the small and marginal farmers of Tushnabad village under South Andaman district, who cant afford costly agricultural inputs have asked the Agriculture department to help them with organic farming.

The farmers want to move towards organic farming because of lower costs and higher margins under organic system. The farmers of this remote village have written letter to the Department of Agriculture, A&N Administration seeking support and assistance to take up organic farming, Singh said.

This is the first time that any village panchayat has taken initiative to go for total organic rather the department taking such initiative, the director of Agriculture said.

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