Jagadguru Varsity launches organic farming project – Daily Pioneer

The Jagadguru Kripalu University (JKU), which is presently in the construction phase, launched a pilot project, ‘The Organic Odisha’ here on Saturday. This initiative would facilitate scaling of organic and natural farming in the State.
The endeavor would promote natural and organic farming by small and marginal farmers of Odisha for their sustainable livelihood and food security. It would support the implementation of the policy of organic farming framed by the State Government in 2015.
The Organic Odisha initiative is launched in conjunction with the NANBAN Foundation of Dallas, USA.
The project would be undertaken in 20 clusters in Rayagada, Puri and Cuttack districts for the next three years. The goal is to create prototypes of successes in these clusters in the organic and natural farming sectors for other districts to follow and make it a mass movement.
The project would cover 2,500 farmers in the 20 clusters empowering 500 villages to do natural farming. The practice can be adapted either in land where there has been no prior chemical fertiliser- and pesticide-based farming or by converting existing chemical farmlands into organic and natural ones.
The pilot initiative would convert 1,000 acres in three years based on the involvement of at least 125 farmers and 50 acres of land in every cluster. Through collaboration and partnership with Government schemes and private sectors (especially, corporate CSR and sustainability initiatives), the focus is to propagate organic farming as an alternative livelihood to the people and farmers.
Further, the programme would set up ‘Organic Haats’ in rural areas exposing farmers to best practices in the fields as well as helping with the production of organic manure by farmers and others. One of the key features of the project is to engage women Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Producer Groups and Farmer’s Producer Companies in natural farming practices.
Earlier, the Odisha Government focused on 15 districts that were primarily tribal and of hilly terrains for organic farming. However, crops like cotton and other heavily-used hybrid seeds posed a challenge to the organic movement. The critical limiting factor of organic farming is the lack of organic manures. Fortunately, this can easily be developed by SHGs not only by natural methods but also with the use of natural substances.
Presently, Odisha requires 9.5 million tons of chemical fertilizer annually from external sources to cultivate its land. This project is a perfect avenue to reduce the need for artificial composts and replace with organic ones. Since organic manure can be produced by local farmers, it will make the state self-sufficient in its agricultural needs.
“Natural and organic farming is an urgent need of humankind and planet earth,” said JKU, Odisha founder Swami Mukundanandaji.
JKU Chancellor Dr SK Dash said, “The idea is to convert at least 10% of farmland in Odisha into organic and natural farming by 2036, the year marking the 100th birth anniversary of the State.”