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NITI Aayog Member Prof. Ramesh Chand Urges Reduction of Rising Production Costs Affecting Farmers' Incomes

Prof. Ramesh Chand highlighted the need to address rising agricultural production costs and promote sustainable natural farming during his visit to Himachal Pradesh.

KJ Staff
NITI Aayog Member Prof. Ramesh Chand addressing farmers at RHRTS Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh
NITI Aayog Member Prof. Ramesh Chand addressing farmers at RHRTS Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh

Prof. Ramesh Chand, member of NITI Aayog and Chairman of the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, highlighted the need to address the rising real costs of agricultural production, which directly affect farmers' incomes. He expressed these concerns during his four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh, where he is meeting with progressive farmers practising natural farming and scientists from Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, who are researching this environmentally friendly approach.

On June 25, 2024, Prof. Chand spoke at an interactive session with farmers practising natural farming at the University’s Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station (RHRTS) in Mashobra. He pointed out that while food was once synonymous with health, today’s consumers often fear the safety of available food products. He called for a shift towards environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices to rebuild consumer confidence.

Prof. Chand also questioned the sustainability of chemical farming and urged natural farming to prove itself as a viable alternative. He emphasized the need for scientific data collection on natural farming and the integration of modern science to enhance its efficacy as a substitute for chemical farming. He also fondly recalled his time as a scientist at the University’s RHRTS Mashobra.

Field visit to the natural farming apple demonstration block
Field visit to the natural farming apple demonstration block

Prof. Rajeshwar Singh, UHF Vice Chancellor, welcomed the attendees and praised farmers who have adopted natural farming. He noted that these farmers have not only addressed initial doubts about natural farming but have also demonstrated excellent results in their fields. C Paulrasu, Secretary of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh, lauded natural farming as a potential boon for the state's small and marginal farmers, given that around 70 percent of farms in Himachal Pradesh are less than a hectare in size. He commended the university’s role in promoting natural farming and providing it with scientific support through research trials.

Farmers from various parts of Shimla district shared their experiences and feedback on natural farming. Discussions also covered marketing of natural farming produce, efficient water use, cooperatives, farmer producer companies, branding and labeling products, and local consumption. Earlier, Dr. Usha Sharma, Coordinator of Krishi Vigyan Kendra Shimla, presented the research trials and results of natural farming conducted at RHRTS Mashobra. Dr. Dinesh Thakur, Associate Director of RHRTS Mashobra, gave the vote of thanks.

The event concluded with a field visit to the station's natural farming apple demonstration block. Prof. Chand appreciated the university’s research efforts and practical demonstrations to the farming community.

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