Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, Sep 13 (UNI) Organic farming has changed the course of life of farmers of the Shekhawati region here as a solution to modern, large-scale chemical-based farming.
The movement started about 10 years back with non-profit voluntary organisation M R Morarka GDC Rural Research Foundation playing a major role in this transformation.
Previously, farmers were going through a rough patch because of diminishing productivity of land due to excessive use of chemical fertlisers and pesticides.
In order to convince farmers about the benefits of organic farming, the Foundation began creating health awareness among the communities and motivating professionals to work for voluntary activities. Gradually, they realised that to provide sufficient standards for self-sufficiency, better livelihood measures were needed, which could only be achieved through agro-development in this agriculture-dominated area.
A research centre was opened by the Foundation to provide training and knowledge to farmers about organic farming.
The farmers of Nawalgarh in Jhunjhunu district of the state were made to adopt Vermiculture -- fertilizers made from earth worms in the production of vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Initially, the movement started with 10,000 farmers in Nawalgarh which today has increased to a lakh. The process started with 20-200 farmers' groups and at present, more than 2.5 lakh farmers are registered under it, many of whom are certified under international certifying agencies.
Today, farmers of the region assert that organic farming has changed their course of life as it has given a boost to farm production with improved quality, increased income, better health for animals, and reduced costs of production.
The input cost made by the farmers has greatly reduced as homemade fertilizers and pests have taken the role of chemical products.
The Morarka Foundation is also taking steps to provide proper markets for organic farm products by entitling various private companies. It is also using modern technologies like IT and bio-technology to boost organic agriculture and turn it into agribusiness.
The farmers are also setting up organic farms which are being promoted as destinations for rural farm tourism.