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Study highlights key hindrances to organic farming

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Kota: Despite the government’s constant efforts to promote organic farming, only 16.3 per cent farmers of Rajasthan use organic inputs, while fear of less production and unavailability of organic inputs form the major hindrances to the chemical-ridden farming.

At least 97.6 per cent of farmers of the state are aware about the hazards caused by chemical-based farming inputs but “fear of less production, transition period and unavailability of organic inputs” in the market discourage them to switch to organic farming, a recent study stated.

The study conducted by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) also noted that 95.5 per cent consumers are also aware of ill effects of chemical-based agricultural products while 88.6 per cent consumers feel organic products are better than chemical based.

The key findings were shared by CUTS in a state level advocacy cum dissemination meeting held yesterday in Jaipur under its project ‘ProOrganic’, being implemented with the support of Sweden-based Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC).

According to the findings, consumers of Dausa district of the state are most aware in the state about organic products and positive health impacts.

Non-governmental players play a vital role in motivating farmers as well as consumers for adoption of organic farming and products, it said.

The study was carried out in 102 Gram Panchayats from 51 blocks in selected six districts of Rajasthan, namely, Kota, Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Jaipur, Dausa and Chittorgarh.

A total of 3,122 samples of feedback were collected.

Out of the total samples, 1,605 comprised of farmer respondents while 1,517 belonged to consumers.

Approximately 40 per cent respondents were women.

Underlining the consumer side, the study pointed out that 95.5 per cent consumers are aware of ill effects of consuming fruits/ vegetable grown through use of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides.

70.2 per cent of the consumers believe that organic products are free from pesticides and insecticides, 82.1 per cent said they are good for health and 62.3 per cent said they contain more nutrition.

A majority of farmers suggested that spreading awareness and purchasing of organic food for Army, mid-day meal and at state-run canteens can be the apt measures to promote organic farming.

The study highlighted that 19.9 per cent farmers in Kota are doing Organic farming, 17.4 per cent are doing inorganic farming, while 62.1 per cent farmers have taken up both patterns of farming.

Yuddhister Chandsi, a member of the study team noted that 70.8 per cent farmers said reason behind using chemical inputs is to increase production but 29.8 per cent farmers said chemical inputs are easily available in the markets.

He said that 84.4 per cent farmers are getting assistance from NGOs for adopting organic farming.

58.4 per cent farmers shared that unavailability of organic inputs is the main hurdle for adopting inorganic farming.

George Cheriyan, Director CUTS said there is a need of integrated efforts from both government and farmers side for promoting organic farming in the state.

He said that government should concentrate on consumer oriented approach rather than export oriented approach for organic products.

Shital Prasad Sharma, Director, State Institute of Agriculture Management (SIAM) shared the need of development of climate smart villages to promote organic farming in the state.

S Mukherjee, Professor and Head, Department of Horticulture, Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute(RARI), said that there is a need of creation of organic product hubs for domestic and export purposes.

PTI