BANGALORE: Organic farming is being promoted as an ideal alternative to address food safety and environmental and sustainability concerns.
Despite several schemes to promote it, farm policies are still not effective enough to attract more farmers to organic farming.
The state government, which framed a policy on organic farming in 2005, has to facilitate credit facility for organic farming at concessional rates of interest.
However, this has not been implemented with rigour and is treated on par with other agricultural practices.
“Capital investment subsidy scheme for commercial production units of organic inputs and special line of credit for specific organic practices must be instituted.
But there is no specific subsidised rate of interest to encourage organic farming,” said Arun M Tallur, Assistant General Manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
As per Karnataka policy on organic farming, special line of credit to farmers, farmers associations, co-operatives, SHGs, processing industries, marketers and exporters, apart from input industries involved in production of organic inputs, are to be given at subsidised rates.
But not many are aware of any such policy nor has it been implemented.
The state government announced in the recent budget to provide interest-free loans to farmers of up to `1 lakh and `200 crore was allocated for promoting organic farming.
“The organic farming certification itself will cost `one lakh for three years.
So it is difficult for small and marginal farmers to invest in farm equipment and other inputs, and they have to depend on credit facilities again,” Narasimha Reddy, a farmer from Gauribidanur said.
Phalada Agro Research Foundation, which works with farmers directly and markets organic products, was only aware of subsidies for organic farm exports.
“No subsidised loans were made available for marketing companies.
No separate marketing yards were also set up for the domestic market.
So the extension of credit at subsidised rates will definitely help organic farmers,” Bharath B, marketing manager of Phalada Agro said