Large Scale, State-led Organic Farming Programme Halved Use of Pesticides in Andhra Pradesh: Study | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel | – The Weather Channel

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Reorienting the farmers to natural farming methods has halved the use of synthetic and harmful chemicals in farming, thereby generating health, environmental and economic benefits, a recently published study on farmers in Andhra Pradesh has observed.
The study — published in Lancet Planetary Health — is the first to evaluate the impact of a large-scale government organic agriculture programme on pesticide use and availability. The researchers sought to assess the impact of the Andhra Pradesh Community-managed Natural Farming (APCNF) programme, which aims to transition eight million hectares of farmland, belonging to six million farmers, to organic by the end of the decade.
The key findings of the study show that the farmers involved in the APCNF programme, after a median of two years, were substantially less likely to report using synthetic chemicals and pesticides, compared to conventional farmers. APCNF farmers who had frequent interactions with agricultural extension workers — either government community resource persons (CRPs/iCRPs) or NGOs — continued adopting more natural methods of farming, and were less likely to use pesticides.
It was found that frequent and sustained state-led training of farmers in organic farming practices can substantially reduce the use of harmful chemicals, which is detrimental to the environment and human health.
"Our findings suggest that APCNF farmers still used pesticides on some part of their lands. Hence, a multifaceted approach combining farmer and retailer education, increased support to natural farming, and limiting the availability of harmful chemicals will help the state of Andhra Pradesh to achieve its goal of 100 per cent natural farming by 2030," senior research scientist at Public Health Foundation of India, Nikhil Srinivasapura Venkateshmurthy, said.
T​he Public Health Foundation of India is a collaborator in the Andhra Pradesh-based study. Other collaborators included the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, India, the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, US, and the University of Edinburgh, UK, supported by the Scottish Funding Council and UK Research and Innovation.
Incidentally, interviews with more than 850 farmers and almost 40 retailers showed that despite the major government drive towards organic agriculture, about half of organic farmers still used pesticides, and there had been no impact on pesticide sales from local retailers.
Lindsay Jaacks of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security said: "We did not expect pesticides to drop to zero within just a couple years of the programme; a transition from input-heavy convention farming to organic does not happen overnight. APCNF farmers are less likely to use pesticides after about two years. The primary reason reported by APCNF farmers for decreasing their pesticide use over the past four years was personal health."
The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.
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