INTEGRATED NATURAL FARMING – A STEP TOWARDS FARMER’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN UTTAR PRADESH

Lucknow: Manoj Kumar Singh, Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Government of Uttar Pradesh, has inaugurated the event “KISANSHALA (INTEGRATED NATURAL FARMING – A STEP TOWARDS FARMER’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN UTTAR PRADESH) as a Chief Guest on 12th July 2022 at Raitha village, Bakshi Ka Talab, Lucknow. icareindia, in association with Agristartup, has initiated the mission KISANSHALA. District Magistrate and Chief Development Officer Lucknow were present at the inaugural event. Dr. Rana Pratap Dean BBAU Academic affairs BBAU, senior scientists from ICAR, KVK and other instituions and many farmers and rural women were also present at the inaugural event.

The objective of the mission, ‘KISANSHALA’ is handholding farmers with quality Agri-inputs (seeds, seedlings, biotech products etc.) and expert services (soil quality, diversification, micro-livestock, Agri-tech, Agri-mgmt., Climate resilient agriculture, scientific processes viz. companion cropping, crop rotation, pests & disease mgmt., orchard mgmt. etc.). Under the leadership of Anoop Gupta and advisory of Atul Kr. Gupta, former chief secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, the organization has made strenuous efforts for the last three years to finalise the concept of the mission.

The APC has shown keen interest in the initiative and committed his support. Addressing the farmers, he said it is the need of the day and aligned with the vision of the state and centre. The mission will help restore soil health, decrease the input cost & increase their net annual income. Multiple earnings windows throughout the year will generate rural Youth’s interest in farming. He insisted farmers look positively for a change in their livelihood and be ready for at least 300 days of hard work in the field.

The APC told the farmers to come forward for the fishery and to include improved varieties of fruit trees in their fields. Quality fish seeds, fingerlings and fruit trees will be provided through the Kisanshala nurseries. He has also assured policy-level support and close follow-up of the initiative to develop hundreds of clusters across the state to promote Natural farming, uplift farmers, and generate mass self-employment opportunities for the Youth in Agriculture & allied sectors. There, some questions were raised from the side of the farmers, like how they can benefit from the farmer’s house, what will be the cooperation of the district administration etc.

The DM Lucknow appreciated the Kisanshala project and gave some successful examples in agriculture and fisheries. He praised the concept of Kisanshala for promoting natural farming, the action plan of connecting the farmers through a cluster and strengthening the entire area by linking the progressing farmers and Youth. He has assured the best possible administrative support at the district and block levels. They will review meetings to draw close support of concerned departments to turn the two farmers’ clusters successful for replication at the district level. He has assured participatory progressive farmers will get benefits on priority from eligible government schemes.

Atul Kr. Gupta, former chief secretary U.P. said it is a first-of-its-kind of Agristartup in the state in partnership with an NGO and a scientific community to work on all the grassroots issues of the farmers to uplift their livelihood. It would be in the interest of the farmers and help generate interest of rural Youth in farming by bringing in a large number of employment & micro-entrepreneurship opportunities for them.

Alok Ranjan, former chief secretary U.P. said the mission concept could significantly strengthen the rural micro-economy. The involvement of rural Youth and females will be helpful in on-field skill development and better self-employment opportunities within the village.

Anoop Gupta, the founder, has acquired rich knowledge of scientific farming practices, including the inclusion of biotechnology for farmers’ livelihood improvement. In his view, misinformed find Natural farming unsustainable. Adapting to suitable scientific methods and diversification can increase productivity, quality and income and decrease costs and risks. It can also work wonderfully to restore soil health. His team will help the farmers adapt to scientific practices of NATURAL FARMING and diversification without compromising annual income, reducing the risks and increasing their income steadily. He said an MOU with PHSS Foundation would establish a joint research lab for providing low-cost biotechnology solutions for the cluster farmers.

The icareindia organization has already been working on a programme ANKURAM, for more than ten years that mainly focuses on “Transforming Government Primary Schools” through collaboration & community engagement to improve the quality of education and, most importantly, lead to the holistic development of the children. The programme has significantly brought a significant change in the lives of more than 60 thousand disadvantaged children. An essential aspect of the mission is channelling youth power and its strategic involvement to bring such transformation.

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