Understanding the benefits of chemical-free farming, more than 25,000 farmers registered themselves with the state agriculture department to participate in organic farming initiatives, against the target of 800, at the 'Organic Fair and Food Festival' organised at Indira Gandhi Sports Complex on Friday.
Inaugurating the festival, agriculture minister Sujan Singh Pathania said the fair aimed to create awareness regarding organic farming and organic products among farmers.“The government has started many programmes to promote organic farming and production of vermicompost, as it would ensure chemical-free products,” he added.
In the state, consumption of chemical fertilisers was 54 kg per hectare in comparison to the national rate of 135 kg per hectare, while in Punjab it was 237 kg per hectare.Pathania said 13,838 hectares had been brought under organic farming in the state.To improve the quality and quantity of paddy and wheat in the state, Rs 20 crore per annum was being spent under the National Food Security Campaign, he added.
A crop diversification scheme costing Rs 321 crore had been launched with the assistance of Japan. “For 2013-14 fiscal year, Rs 30 crore has been allocated under this scheme,” said Pathania, adding that seven markets would be constructed at a cost of Rs 20 crore to improve marketing facilities.
Various organisations displayed their organic products in 24 stalls at the festival, including 15 from the state. Technical sessions were also held to educate farmers about organic farming.