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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Discuss the significance of natural farming and suggest measures that can be taken for smooth transition from conventional to chemical-free farming.

    14 Mar, 2022 GS Paper 1 Geography


    • Introduce with what is natural farming.
    • Discuss the significance of natural farming.
    • Suggest measures that can be taken for smooth transition from conventional to chemical-free farming.


    Natural Farming is the art, practice and, increasingly, the science of working with nature to achieve much more with less. This practice, however, has been associated with decline in yields and not much improvement in farmers’ incomes.


    Natural Farming and its Significance -

    • This farming approach was introduced by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher, in his 1975 book ‘The One-Straw Revolution’.
    • It is a diversified farming system that integrates crops, trees and livestock, allowing the optimum use of functional biodiversity.
      • Internationally, Natural Farming is considered a form of regenerative agriculture—a prominent strategy to save the planet.
    • It holds the promise of enhancing farmers’ income while delivering many other benefits, such as restoration of soil fertility and environmental health, and mitigating and/or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    • It has the potential to manage land practices and sequester carbon from the atmosphere in soils and plants, where it is actually useful.

    Initiatives have been Launched in this Regard

    • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
    • Sub-mission on AgroForestry (SMAF)
    • National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
    • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

    Measures that can be taken to scale up Natural Farming -

    • Going Beyond Ganga Basin: Focussing on promoting natural farming in rainfed areas beyond the Gangetic basin.
      • Rainfed regions use only a third of the fertilisers per hectare compared to the areas where irrigation is prevalent.
        • The shift to chemical-free farming will be easier in these regions.
      • Also, the farmers stand to gain as the current crop yields in these areas are low.
    • Risk Prevention for Smooth Transition: Enabling automatic enrollment of farmers transitioning to chemical-free farming into the government’s crop insurance scheme, PM Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
      • Any transition in agriculture — crop diversification, change in farming practices — adds to the farmer’s risk.
      • Covering such risks could enhance the appetite of the farmers to embark on the transition.
    • Providing Support to Agri MSMEs: Microenterprises that produce inputs for chemical-free agriculture shall be provided support from the government.
      • To address the challenge of unavailability of readily available natural inputs, the promotion of natural farming needs to be combined with the setting up of village-level input preparation and sales shops.
      • Two shops per village across the country could provide a livelihood to at least five million youth and women.
    • Peer Farmers as Inspiration: NGOs and champion farmers who have been promoting and practising sustainable agriculture across the country can be leveraged for this purpose.
      • A CEEW (Council on Energy, Environment and Water) research estimates that at least five million farmers are already practising some form of sustainable agriculture and hundreds of NGOs are involved in promoting them.
      • Learning from peers, especially champion farmers, through on-field demonstrations has proved highly effective in scaling up chemical-free agriculture in Andhra Pradesh.
    • Leveraging Community Institutions: Community institutions can be leveraged for awareness generation, inspiration, and social support.
      • The government should facilitate an ecosystem in which farmers learn from and support each other while making the transition.
      • Beyond evolving the curriculum in agricultural universities, there is a need to upskill the agriculture extension workers on sustainable agriculture practices.

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