The Central Government in its budget has proposed to create 10,000 organic farming clusters all over India under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana to push organic farming in the country. Goa will get 500 organic clusters. One of the follow-on effects will be to double the income of farmers by 2022. Goa Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai recently announced that there are plans to create 10,000 organic farming clusters all over India under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. It is intended that Goa will get 500 of these organic clusters.
Vijai Sardesai: “A debate has been going on whether the fruits and vegetables available in the market are food or poison. It is widely believed that calcium carbide, insecticides and pesticides are being used. So organic farming is the only way out if we want to live a healthy life.”
It should be easy for Goa to adopt this concept, as it is a progressive and small state. Furthermore, in order to encourage organic farming in the state, the government intends to bring in the ‘integrated farming’ concept, where animal husbandry, agriculture and fisheries will converge.
In an effort to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and to promote organic farming in goa, the state department of agriculture has launched a state sector scheme titled assistance for use of organic inputs by the farmer.
Under this scheme, 50 percent assistance will be given on cost of organic inputs limited to Rs 10,000 per hectare and maximum up to 2 hectares or Rs 20,000 per beneficiary for all categories of farmers on the use of organic inputs. These organic inputs are organic fertilizers, bio-fertilizers,bio-pesticides and bio-control agents.
Farmers possessing a valid Krishi card and cultivating a minimum area of 0.1 hectare in the state are eligible for this scheme.
The Botanical Society of Goa started in 1990. Its annual Home Garden Competition began two years later and focused entirely on ornamental plants. In 1996, a component of Kitchen Gardening was introduced and in 1998, a component of composting of kitchen waste and garden clippings was introduced. In the next year, they introduced a component of waste/grey water reuse for irrigation.
Taking advantage of the organic farming promoters coming to Goa, the Konkan Fruit Fest was pushed to April end and exhibition and sale of organic produce like fruits and vegetables was organized as part of the event. Now, this event is held every year in Goa focusing on a particular fruit or plant.
Another success story is the Chorao Farmers Club which was initiated in the year 2008 with a group of 22 farmers from the island village of Chorao. It was started by a retired school teacher Premanand Mhambre.
Today, it has around 100 members, 50 per cent of whom are women. They sell various produce like coconut oil, cashew nuts, etc., but their most famous products are the salt-tolerant, traditional variety of rice called Corgut, grown without using chemical fertilizers. It has high fibre content, essential oils, digestible protein as well as high levels of vitamin B complex.
They have other products like Mancurad Mango that sell like hot cakes in the month of April and May. All these initiatives in Goa in the last ten years or so, have helped people become more aware towards what they consume, and also become more environment conscious.