Budget 2023: Boost to Natural Farming
Budget 2023 has announced that the government will assist 1 crore (100 million) farmers transition to natural (or chemical-balanced) farming over the next three years. The budget announced that the PM Program for restoration, awareness nourishment and amelioration of mother earth (PM PRANAM) will be launched to incentivize states and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilizers and a balanced use of chemical fertilizers.
Natural farming in India has been growing rapidly in recent years as consumers become more aware of the benefits of consuming healthy and chemical-balanced food. Natural farming refers to the production of crops and livestock without a balanced approach to the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Instead, farmers use natural methods to improve soil fertility and control pests, making the food produced healthier for both the environment and the consumers.
One of the primary benefits of natural farming in India is the improvement in soil health. The overuse of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in conventional farming can harm the soil, reducing its fertility and ability to support healthy plant growth. Organic farming, on the other hand, relies on natural methods to maintain soil health, such as composting, crop rotation, and intercropping. This results in soil that is rich in organic matter, which can support healthier and more diverse crops.
Another benefit of natural farming is the reduction of chemical exposure to both farmers and consumers. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers can have harmful effects on the environment, wildlife, and human health. Natural farming eliminates the use of these chemicals, reducing the risk of exposure and promoting a healthier food system.
Natural farming also has the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers in India. Natural food is often more expensive than conventionally grown food, providing farmers with higher profits and more sustainable livelihoods. Additionally, natural farming can reduce the risk of crop failures, as organic farmers rely on a diverse range of crops, reducing the risk of crop failures due to pests and diseases.
In addition to the benefits for farmers and consumers, natural farming also has positive impacts on the environment. Natural farming practices help to conserve soil and water resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote biodiversity. By reducing the use of synthetic chemicals, natural farming also helps to reduce the risk of water pollution, which is a growing concern in India.