Embracing sustainable agri practices to raise farmers’ income, benefit environment

New Delhi, Apr 21 (Agency) Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday said embracing sustainable agricultural practices by farmers could not only lead to better incomes for them, but will also have multiple environmental benefits. Launching a study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) virtually, Kumar also said India needs to rethink its current agricultural practices.

‘We need to rethink our current agricultural practices. Our focus is on promoting sustainable agriculture, especially natural farming, in India. This would benefit small and marginal farmers,’ he said. Kumar said it is also suitable in the country’s drier regions, as it requires lesser water. ‘Embracing sustainable agriculture could not only lead to better incomes for farmers but will also have multiple environmental benefits,’ he said. According to the study, supported by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), less than 4 per cent Indian farmers have adopted sustainable agricultural practices and systems.

The study pointed out that organic farming currently covers only 2.8 million hectares (ha), which is two per cent of India’s net sown area of 140 million ha. Natural farming is the fastest-growing sustainable agricultural practice in India and has been adopted by around 8 lakh farmers, it added. According to the study, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has achieved a coverage area of 5 million ha after decades of sustained promotion.