Gaushalas Can Be Very helpful In Encouraging Organic And Natural Farming: NITI Aayog Report

By Outlook Planet Desk March 13, 2023

A report on production and promotion of organic and bio fertilizers with particular emphasis on increasing economic viability of gaushalas" was released by NITI Aayog Task Force

Gaushalas Can Be Very helpful In Encouraging Organic And Natural Farming: NITI Aayog Report
Agri-inputs made from cow dung and cow urine can minimise or replace agrochemicals. DepositPhotos

The Task Force Report titled “Production and Promotion of Organic and Bio fertilisers with Special Focus on Improving Economic Viability of Gaushalas”, was released by NITI Aayog recently. The Task Force was constituted by NITI Aayog to suggest measures to make gaushalas economically viable, address problem of stray and abandoned cattle and effective utilization of cow dung and cow urine in agriculture and energy sectors.

The research made public today offers accurate projections of the operating expenses, fixed costs, and other concerns pertaining to Gaushalas, as well as the costs and expenditures associated with constructing a Bio-CNG plant and a PROM plant there. In order to increase the financial and economic sustainability of Gaushalas, it offers proposals and recommendations for utilising the potential of stray, abandoned, and unprofitable cattle wealth for promoting natural and organic farming.

Cattle were a crucial part of India's traditional farming system, and gaushalas can be very helpful in encouraging organic and natural farming. According to economic, health, environmental, and sustainability considerations, the agri-inputs made from cow dung and cow urine can minimise or replace agrochemicals, acting as plant nutrients and plant protection. The efficient use of cattle waste is a prime illustration of the circular economy's concept of turning waste into wealth.

The integration of livestock and crops is the special strength of south Asian agriculture, according to Prof. Ramesh Chand, a member of the NITI Aayog. He claimed that there had been a severe imbalance in the usage of cattle dung and inorganic fertiliser over the previous 50 years. This has a negative impact on the environment, human health, food quality, efficiency, and soil health. As a result, the Indian government is supporting sustainable agricultural approaches including organic and natural farming. By serving as resource centres for the supply of organic and biodegradable inputs, gaushalas can play a crucial role in scaling up natural and sustainable farming.

Vice Chancellor of the Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Dr. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, Solan emphasised the experiences from Himachal Pradesh and shared that the task force report will support the use of organic and bio fertilisers to strengthen the waste to wealth initiative. He also emphasised the value of institutional backing for gaushalas' increased economic viability.

In highlighting the shift towards natural farming and organic farming in recent years, Shri Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, noted that natural farming has received special attention in the Union Budget 2023 and that the taskforce report's recommendations will strengthen these efforts.

Members of the task group and gaushala officials discussed the role of gaushalas in promoting sustainable farming and the waste to wealth programme.

According to estimates, the country currently has 38.09 lakh hectares under organic farming, including 26.57 lakh hectares under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and 6.19 lakh hectares under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), 1.23 lakh hectares under the Namami Gange Programme, 4.09 lakh hectares under the BPKP (Natural Farming), and 6.19 lakh hectares under the Namami Gange Programme. 10. In the next three years, the Government of India wants to convert an additional 10 lakh hectares of land to organic farming, which will necessitate the use of biofertilizers and other organic inputs.

The report reveals that due to rising demand and awareness, the market for bio fertilisers in India is currently valued at about '1200 crores and is projected to reach '2,000 crores within the next few years.

Discussing the challenges in adoption of bio-fertilisers, the report states that due to the substantial subsidies for chemical fertilisers, there is no equal playing field for producers of biofertilizers and organic fertilisers as well as for farmers eager to employ non-chemical fertiliser alternatives. It adds that only a little amount of research is being done on organic and bio fertilisers.