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High-density farming poses threat to environment: Agriculture expert

He said that there is also a need to preserve the ecology and biodiversity in states like Himachal with the method of organic agriculture

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The high-density farming in India is posing a threat to its environment as the nutrients and elements of the soil are being extracted very fast, according to renowned Indian agriculture expert Devinder Sharma.
"I believe that the promotion of high-density cultivation is going to impose a major threat to the environment in the near future. Wherever I go be it in Srinagar, here in Himachal or in Tamil Nadu I find only high-density cultivation being promoted," said Devinder Sharma.
Explaining serious threats to the environment caused by high-density farming he urged to use the local way of farming than imitate the West.
"I think the agriculture scientists should focus on the local and country demands instead of following Europe and the West. I am worried that if it continues there will be a situation that we will not be able to correct, so there is a need to stop it," said Sharma.
He said that there is also a need to preserve the ecology and biodiversity in states like Himachal with the method of organic agriculture. He said that there is a need to do more research in agriculture and horticulture institutes to reduce the use of chemicals in farming.
"As far as we are talking about organic farming there is a need for research. I was expecting the two universities in the state Palampur and Solan Agriculture and Horticulture Universities in the state to do extensive research to promote organic farming which is not getting practically viable. Himachal Pradesh has 1 per cent biodiversity of the world; you have to reduce the use of chemicals to maintain the biodiversity. We expect a new and special model from scientists with the help of the government," he further added.
He said that farming in India is in distress and there is a need to make minimum support prices for farming products.
"We have been witnessing that agriculture is in distress not only in northwestern areas but across the state farmers are throwing their produce on the road and it started from onions in Maharashtra and now in Madhya Pradesh where the onion prices slashed down to 25 paise per kgs. The farmers destroyed lady finger and garlic in Chhattisgarh. Moreover, tomatoes and capsicum prices have slashed down in the recent past," Sharma said.
He advised to learn from the volatility in the agriculture market caused due to climate change and vouch for minimum support prices.
"Have any country ever thought about how a farmer is surviving after the product is destroyed? The imposition of a 20 per cent tax on credit cards a hue and cry was made, but nobody is bothered about farming. The minimum support price should be made a legal right of the farmers," Sharma said.
He said that there is a need to do two or three things in India. First, the trade needs to be regulated and farmers should get at least a respectable cost of their produce invested. There is a 900 per cent to 2000 per cent commission which is being charged by the market for the farming produce in India.
"The trade needs to be regulated and the maximum retail price needs to be fixed. To strengthen the applied plantation-driven economy in the state of Himachal Pradesh, both state and union governments need to take majors. The union government has recently imposed a 50 per cent tax in the form of a duty on apple import and we want it to be increased more so that the cheap imported apples can't hit the Indian apples," said Devinder Sharma.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 27 2023 | 11:43 AM IST

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