'It brings down costs and risks involved in agriculture'
“You may not believe. But it is a fact that the IT professionals are switching over to agriculture with the introduction of the zero budget natural farming in the State. A reverse migration to villages is the new trend,” said Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. He was delivering a keynote address on Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) at an international seminar on ‘Financing sustainable agriculture: Global challenges and opportunities’ on Tuesday. The seminar was jointly organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Women, BNP Paribas SA and the World Agroforestry Centre at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Begins speech in Telugu
According to a press release, for about two minutes he spoke in Telugu impressing the audience. Thanking the delegates on behalf of the Telugu speaking people and Indians, Mr. Naidu said, “I am going to utilise the rarest opportunity to speak on the subject in the mother tongue.”
Explaining Mission 2024, Mr. Naidu said the government had set a target of making Andhra Pradesh number one State in natural farming. In fact, Andhra Pradesh had become a hub of natural farming. About 60 lakh farmers would be involved in the process and 8 million hectares would be brought under it. Andhra Pradesh would be a role model for the world. As much as 62% of the population were employed in agriculture and allied activities. The State had the second longest coastline of 974 km and was the largest producer of fruits, eggs, aquaculture and horticulture in 1.7 million hectares, he said.
The State government had been encouraging the process to bring down costs and risks involved in agriculture. It took three years for it to convince the farmers to switch over to it in selected villages after winning their confidence through pilot projects. The goal was to achieve 100% natural farming in five years and the government was confident it was possible, he said.
With the help of women self-help groups, community resources persons and using technology, the government planned to involve 6 million farmers in zero budget natural farming, which would help in reaching sustainable development goals, he added.
Earlier at a bilateral meeting with World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Director Tony Simons and Deputy Director General Ravi Prabhu, the Chief Minister discussed research activities in the State. He discussed scientific evidence and assess the impacts of the farming through field-based data collection.
Saying the ICRAF was carrying out research programmes in agroforestry sector in 30 countries and eager to study the natural farming practices in Andhra Pradesh, Dr Tony Simons expressed readiness to extend their research programmes in the practices to the State.
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