Pankaj Gupta, Vijay Kumar Sharma
Organic farming has huge prospects for livelihood security in rural areas. Despite this, the intensification of organic farming is comparatively slower. For farming communities living in the mountainous state of Himachal, farming is the way of life and almost 70 percent of the population directly or indirectly depend on agriculture and allied activities. Until a few years back, it was the age-old indigenous wisdom that sustained the majority of people in farming and allied activities. From the times of yore, Himalayan communities have been using long-established agricultural techniques. Farmers’ conventional knowledge of farming included the time-tested organic farming practices in the field. But, the Green Revolution, an ambitious program of agricultural research with the objective of developing genetically improved crops meant for boosting food production, changed the entire situation. This gave rise genetically improved seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, which considerably increased the production. Recent research however revealed that the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides has distressing effects not only on soil fertility but on water bodies posing risks to ecosystems, biodiversity, and the survival of mankind. Presently, the agricultural systems and agrarian communities in the hilly areas are passing through an interim phase. In order to prevent the negative implications of chemicals on ecosystems and human life, the scientific community after long debates are advocating restoring of the traditional farming practices, which restricts the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, etc., and encourages the use of conventional methods of crop rotations, organic manures, off-farm organic wastes, and biological methods of nutrient supplementation and pest management. National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture Development boosts the reliable agriculture practices which are indispensable constituents of agriculture development and in this direction organic farming has emerged as the well-accepted instrument. The government has taken a number of initiatives in this direction and the research institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations have also shown their interest in restoring the organic farming in the state. In this paper, an attempt has been made to discuss few initiatives of the two for boosting organic farming in the state.
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