Bengaluru, Apr 28 (PTI) The Centre would work towards formulating a national programme on organic farming and millet cultivation, Union Minister Ananth Kumar said today.
A round table conference would be held on the issue, involving Union Ministers for Agriculture, Commerce, Food and Civil Supplies, Rural Development and Fertiliser, he said.
“I would like to assure that with the help of all states, the union government will formulate a national programme…”, the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers said after inaugurating the national conference and exhibition on organic farming and millets ‘Organics & Millets 2017’, organised by Karnataka Agriculture Department here.
Kumar stressed on the need for national mission towards encouraging organic farming and cultivation of millets, saying excessive use of fertilisers had destroyed soil fertility.
“…in this backdrop I feel that government of India along with Karnataka and other state governments should start a national mission towards encouraging organic farming and cultivation of millets,” Kumar said.
“I would like to assure that with the help of all states, the union government will formulate a national programme…” he added.
The event was attended by Union Minister Sadananda Gowda, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil and others.
Kumar said supply of millets through public distribution system, as done by the Karnataka government, should be replicated in other states also.
“I will personally speak to Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in this regard,” he said.
The Minister also said extending Minimum Support Price to other millets, and scientifically increasing the MSP given to Ragi and Jowar, so as to ensure that farmers get proper returns, will be looked into.
He said “we should think together regarding popularising consumption of millets in urban areas, by informing about their health benefits, and also look at ways to export them to other countries by ensuring they get market there.” Earlier speaking at the event, Krishna Byre Gowda had requested the central government to increase the MSP of ragi and jowar and to give priority towards distribution of millets under PDS.
Highlighting his department’s efforts in successfully implementing neem coated urea, Kumar who is also Fertilisers Minister, said Indian Council of Fertilizer and Nutrient Research has been established and it has been tasked to find out whether there can be multi coating to urea.
“…can we add boron and Zinc also to urea along with neem thereby providing other nutrients to farmers along with neem coated urea, we are trying to experiment that,” he added.
Also noting that use of chemical fertilisers cannot be stopped at one go, Kumar said state and central governments should work together in this regard and formulate a policy.
There is need educate farmers about organic and bio fertilisers and try to increase its usage by giving necessary input subsidy, so as to ensure that their earnings don’t get hit, he said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.