BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Government and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have decided to collaborate to promote organic farming in the State. UNEO Executive Director Erik Solheim met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here on Friday and discussed the scope of organic farming in Odisha.
The Chief Minister said there is a lot of scope for organic farming in Odisha for which the State Government is interested in sustainable and climate resilient organic agriculture. Organic farming should be given importance in rain-dependent and tribal areas of Odisha, where there is no application of chemicals in agriculture, he said.
Stating that the UNEP is interested to take up programmes in social and economic fields and for environment protection in Odisha, Solheim said success can be achieved with cooperation from the Government.
Later, a 10-member team from UNEP, headed by Solheim, attended a high-level meeting presided over Chief Secretary AP Padhi where application of green technology to achieve sustainable development was discussed. Generation of solar energy, promotion of organic farming and development of traditional agricultural potential of Odisha were discussed.
Official sources said organic farming of millet has been introduced among 14,000 farmers in Odisha. A decision was also taken to promote maize which alone has a business potential of Rs 1,000 crore per year.
The Chief Secretary said appropriate marketing mechanism should be created to encourage farmers to take up production of maize, millets and other such foodgrains. Padhi suggested that a joint committee should be constituted to identify specific areas for future collaboration between the State Government and the UNEP. The joint committee, to be headed by Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, will have Principal Secretary in the Agriculture Department Manoj Ahuja and Principal Secretary in Finance Department TK Pandey as members. UNEP will be represented by Satya S Tripathy, senior advisor, 2030-agenda for sustainable development in the joint committee.
Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Principal Secretary in the Steel and Mines Department Raj Kumar Sharma, Secretary in the Energy Department Hemant Sharma, Secretary in the Rural Development Department Bishnupada Sethi and senior officials attended.