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Revert to organic farming, farmers told

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUVANNAMALAI, FEB. 26. A national-level seminar on organic farming, organised by the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) here on Saturday, called upon farmers to revert to the traditional form of organic farming to ensure quality crop production and to sustain soil wealth. Farmers from across Tamil Nadu narrarted their success stories.

Claude Alvares, coordinator, OFAI, Goa, said the objectives of OFAI were to organise organic farmers into a recognisable entity that would effectively represent their interests at local, State, regional and national levels; to formalise and operate credible, scientific and publicly trusted systems for the recognition, certification and registration of organic farms; for the sale of organic farming produce; for the export of organic farming produce and for assisting organic farmers with facilities and formalities.

The OFAI also aims at working out modalities for interaction with established systems of certification, whether Indian or foreign and lobbying with the Central and State Governments to evolve and follow policies geared to the promotion of organic farming in India, including the provision of subsidies, price support, markets, certification and other needs. The OFAI was the only Indian organisation recognised by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM), Mr. Alvares said.

Harmful consequences

K. Venkatachalam, president, Save the Eastern Ghats Association, Chengam and member of the National Steering Committee of OFAI, who presided, explained how he has been getting greater yield by cultivating traditional rice varieties through organic farming. S. D. Thirugnanam, a farmer of Tiruvannamalai, said that farmers were gradually giving up the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and reverting to organic farming after realising the harmful consequences of using chemicals .

P. T. Rajendran of Kalasapakkam stressed the need for protecting the interests of farmers dependent on rainfall. Agricultural technology has isolated poor farmers since they could not afford to buy tractors. Farmers would have to retain the plough cattle for organic farming, he said.

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