The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yedyurappa has allocated Rs. 200 crore for Organic Farming Mission in the Rs. 17, 857 crore agriculture budget announced for the state.
Under the Organic Farming Mission, each taluk has about 500 farmers who practice organic farming. Farmers of Bagepalli Taluk who were watching the CM present the agriculture budget, said they had expected about Rs.500 crore for Organic Farming Mission.
According to Suryanarayana Reddy, president of Gummanayanaalaya Savayava Krushi Trust, organic farming is the best way of farming because the crop produce is consistent.
“The funds allocated last year for our taluk were Rs.16, 6900 and we expect more than Rs.25 lakh funds for Organic farming for our Taluk,” he added.
According to L. Krishnappa, a farmer who has been practicing organic farming from three years said that, using chemical fertilizers and pesticides for farming is very dangerous. “It is like a lottery, either we get a great crop produce or we are at a total loss.”
The agricultural growth in Karnataka has remained as low as 0.5 percent in the last decade. So, when the agriculture budget was announced, about ten thousand farmers applauded at CM’s allocation of funds to organic farming.
According to A.S. Anand, chairman of Organic Farming Mission of Karnataka, previously 100 crore was allocated under the mission and the amount allocated is double the amount allocated last year.
“I hope that the prices of horticulture products like onions and tomatoes have to be fixed because if the prices of these products are low in the market, then the farmers should be provided incentives or subsidies,” he added.
Explaining that many farmers fear taking to organic farming, Manjunath.T, said that it takes three years for a farmer to recover how much ever he or she spends on the crop input.
“If the harvest for the first year is less, the produce in the second year is more and the third year gives a good produce. Because, the chemical content in the soil will gradually be gone, after three years of practicing organic farming, the crop produce will be equal or more than the cost spent on the input,” he said.
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, member of Karnataka Riathu Raksha Samithi (KRRS) described the agriculture budget as a welcome change.
“Zero budget natural farming also should be included under the Organic Farming Mission because farming should de-link the corporations from farmers,” she said.
But, in the budget, when the CM spoke about allocating agriculture projects under the public private partnership (PPP) model, the relevance of an exclusive budget for agriculture is lost because this involves corporations.
The CM said that each Taluk should enroll at least 3000 farmers under the organic farming mission and he will be a part of this every week.
“Most of these Savayava Krushi Trust committees in the taluk level are controlled by BJP and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) members and therefore, there is interference of politics and corporations, even here,” said Chukki.
In the agriculture budget, 50 crore was allocated for “Bhoo Chetana” programme which creates awareness on reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
“Awareness on the dangers of using chemical pesticides and fertilizers has to be created in the farming community. Farmers do not produce food for themselves anymore, but for the people,” explained Chukki.
What we also have to look at is that the agriculture budget forms the basis of the Agriculture Expo that is going to be held in June, she added.