1. Agriculture World

Natural Farming Gaining Popularity in Himachal Pradesh

Shikha Parewa
Shikha Parewa
Woman Standing In Apple Orchard

Fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh are gradually shifting to natural farming, with chemical-free goods retailing for as much as Rs.100/kg.

According to the fruit growers, the switch to natural farming has also reduced their input costs, improving their profit margin. Ravinder Chauhan, who farms apples on eight bighas of land, said that apples cultivated using the natural farming technique earned him Rs.4,200-4,500 per box this year.
Through the Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojna (PK3Y), which was launched in 2018, the chemical-free, low-cost, and climate-resilient SPNF technology is being pushed for agriculture and horticultural crops in Himachal Pradesh.

So far, 1,33,056 farmers in the hill-state have practiced natural farming on around 7,609 hectares of land, including over 12,000 apple farmers.

Surender Mehta, a fruit grower from Lalpani Dochi village in the Chopal subdivision, claimed that dealers from Jaipur and Delhi had taken the fruit from his orchard and paid him 10-15% more than the local market. His pears were sold at a price of Rs.150 a kilogram.

Executive Director, PK3Y, Rajeshwar Singh Chandel said, “In Himachal, excessive chemicals have been used on agriculture and horticulture crops over the years. So much so that insecticide and fungicide residue levels in fruits and vegetables have occasionally exceeded the permissible limits in 3-4 percent of samples. This has been a big problem, and even farmers are eager to switch to natural farming, which reduces cultivation costs dramatically while ensuring that the produce is nutritious and healthful. It is also beneficial to their personal health because they are no longer need to spray toxins. The number of people embracing SPNF is steadily increasing, which is a positive sign.”

According to government research, natural farming has reduced the cost of apple production by 56.5 % while increasing earnings by 27 %. Diseases such as scab and marssonina blotch are less common in the apple crop grown through natural farming.

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