Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday recommended judicious use of chemicals in agriculture. “The contribution of the chemical industry to Indian agriculture cannot be underestimated, but a balance has to be maintained to achieve sustainability,” he said.
While the government is making all efforts to encourage organic farming, it is not easy to completely shift from the use of chemicals in agriculture, the minister said at the 10th edition of the Agrochemicals Conference, a webinar organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
The minister said India had carved out a separate place for itself in the global market in the export of agri commodities and now ranks among the top two producers of major agri commodities. India also ranks among the top 10 exporters in several commodities. The momentum has already been created and efforts are being made to double farmers’ incomes, he said.
Tomar cited the example his recent visit to Jammu & Kashmir for the inauguration of the Saffron Park, where farmers said they are now getting a price of Rs 2 lakh per kg due to the value-added facilities at the park, as against Rs 1 lakh per kg earlier. Even during the pandemic, Tomar said, farmers have worked hard to harvest bumper production, and the farm sector has contributed significantly to the GDP.
Ramesh Chand, member, NITI Aayog, said in his keynote address that it is important to integrate the principles of organic farming along with the use of agrochemicals in a judicious and sustainable way. He cited the example of Sri Lanka, where only organic farming was encouraged with disastrous results.
“India has practiced traditional or organic farming for years without much success. One has to learn to differentiate between completely discarding something or using it in a balanced manner,” he said.
Bhagwant Singh Khuba, minister of state, chemicals & fertilisers, and MoS, new & renewable energy, urged agrochemical industries to include more farmers in their network and provide them with good quality chemicals and fertilisers, in addition to educating them about the judicious use of pesticides. He also released a knowledge paper prepared by PwC & FICCI.