VIJAYAWADA: The State government is all set to promote organic farming in a big way. While organic farming is being practiced in over 1,000 villages in the State at present, the government is going to expand it to all the 12,900 villages.The concept of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) will be taken up by the Farmers Empowerment Committee of the Agriculture Department.
The United National Environment Programme (UNEP) and Azim Premji Foundation came forward to extend support for ZBNF in the State.Disclosing the details to newsmen at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi on Tuesday, Agriculture Department advisor B Vijay Kumar and Special Chief Secretary B Rajasekhar said that the ZBNF concept is aimed at promoting climate resilient, chemical-free agriculture as well as ensuring welfare of farmers and consumers.
It will also help in restoring soil fertility, water percolation and storage in the soil and enhaning biodiversity.Estimating that funds to a tune of Rs10,000 crore is required for implementing Zero Budget Natural Farming, the government has decided to take the support from international and national level organisations.
Representatives of Azim Premji Foundation and UNEP after making field visit to the organic farming in the State have agreed to extend the necessary support for the scheme. Azim Premji Foundation announced Rs 100 crore grant for the purpose.UNEP senior advisor Satya S Tripati said that the State has vast resources and there is scope to increase the agriculture income of farmers under organic farming.
Azim Premji Foundation chief executive officer Ananta Padmanabhan said that organic farming would be beneficial to drought-prone districts like Anantapur.“Andhra Pradesh, which so far stood as the top State in terms of using chemicals and fertilisers in agriculture, will henceforth head towards organic farming and will ensure better income to farmers,’’ said Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar.