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Karnataka to expand organic farming

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Organic farming is likely to expand rapidly in Karnataka as the state government has come up with an organic farming policy backed by various departments.
 
G K Vasanth Kumar, director, Karnataka horticulture department, said that 100 hectare land has been identified in each district for transition to organic farming in the next three years.
 
of the Center for Public Policy at Indian Institute of Mangement, Bangalore said Karnataka's policy on organic farming seeks to increase rural employment opportunities, facilitate farmers' self-help groups, reduce pollution, protect human and animal health, and help mitigate drought conditions.
 
The total area certified for organic farming is less than 1000 acre in the state but it is growing at the rate of 10 per cent every year.
 
According to Sreekanth Tangali, an expert on organic farming in North Karnataka, currently only one per cent of the net cultivated area in the state is under organic farming. Around 25 per cent of farmers are organic cultivators by default and lack adequate resources for chemical inputs.
 
At present, organic farming is popular in the medicinal and aromatic crops particularly coleus. A very small area of plantation crops like coffee, cardamom and pepper in the western ghats is also under organic farming.
 
In totality, organic farming is still an unorganised sector but once major crop segments like cotton, rice, chilli and millet shift to organic farming, the state's fortunes may change, Tangail added.
 
Farm experts say coffee, pepper, cardomon, horticultural crops like pomegranate, grapes, medicinal and aromartic plants (MAP) grown under organic farming conditions have good export potential.
 
The flavours of these plants get better in organic farming, thus enabling farmers to earn better yields. Even if a farmer gets normal yields and profits from organic farming, he will be happy because marketing and cash realisation may be better with organic buyers. Normally 15-20 per cent additional realisation is possible, said Tangali.
 
Right now there is no special financial assistance available for organic farming schemes but the state government is studying the viability of organic farming.
 
According to incharge of the Karnataka government's organic farming cell, compared to normal farming practices, the yield in organic farming may initially decrease by 20 per cent, but it will equal the normal yield by the third year and will soon be twice the normal.
 
For MAP, a division of the horticulture department is facilitating contract purchase by companies.
 
The horticulture department is planning a big push to promote ecofriendly organic vegetable and flower cultivation. The department will exhibit organically home grown fruits, vegetables and flowers on Independence Day flower and vegetable show, said Vasanth Kumar.

 
 

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