NAMAKKAL: Recognising the importance of organic farming, the State government released a policy note in August which stated that a separate wing would be created in the agriculture department to focus on the sector. Farmers, however, allege that no steps have been taken in this direction.
Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation state general secretary G Ajeethan said, "Organic farming is a system of cultivation which requires pre-sowing practices and ensures that there are no chemical residue on the land. North-East monsoon brings copious rains in many districts. The State government could have encouraged farmers to prepare the soil for organic farming. However, no such notifications have been issued till now."
Saying that the government should focus on pre-sowing enrolments for organic farming, Ajeethan said, through this, the farmers would be able to apply for organic certification. He also sought subsidies for pre-sowing preparations. "It is also important to encourage the existing organic formers, and this is the right time to launch the scheme," he said.
S Srinivasan, a farmer, said, "First of all, the State government failed to create awareness on organic farming. Though there is a plan to introduce a separate wing for organic farming, the government's stand is not clear. Because, in most of the districts, many posts in agriculture, horticulture and seed certification wings are vacant. Without filling these, how can the government create a separate wing?"
Pointing out that the government had decided to shift the seed and organic certification office from Coimbatore to Chennai for official conveniences, the farmer said still the matter of separate wing was in the backburner. Also, no steps had been initiated on the government's assurance to extend financial assistance for procurement of organic inputs, pesticide, residue analysis and establishment of value addition units under the scheme, Srinivasan said.
Sources in the agriculture department said they had no idea when the government would issue an order for the organic farming development programme. Ramachandran, Assistant Director of Seed Certification, said the process was in progress.