Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar on Monday said that India needs to adopt organic farming to keep ‘poison’ out of its plates.
Inaugurating the annual five-day National Horticulture Fair 2021 organised by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, Ravishankar Guruji said that the country must gradually adopt organic farming for its sustainable growth.
“We are consuming poisonous food due to extensive usage of pesticides. The present farming system has to be changed by encouraging organic farming,” he asserted.
He also emphasised upon changing the food culture and promoting indigenous food to develop the immune system.
The five-day fair at IIHR is organised in hybrid mode with physical and virtual participation. The institute has displayed 300 high yielding horticulture crops and demonstrated 254 varieties of disease-resistant high-density fruits, vegetables and flowers. Also on display are vegetable and fruit vending vans, tricycle and a high humidity storage box.
While addressing the five-day fair virtually here, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director-General Trilochan Mohapatra said that the ICAR has developed 51 organic cropping systems suitable for adoption in 12 states.
He said that extensive research in horticulture by various institutes across the country has helped improve nutrition quotient in fruits and vegetables to counter malnutrition and anaemia in children below five years.
He added that the ICAR institutes have taken steps to develop and promote sustainable farming practices in the country through the use of technology.
“ICAR created 63 Integrated Farming System (IFS) models by involving various ICAR Institutes, state Agriculture Universities and farming communities of 18 states,” he explained.
He added that these models have the potential to increase farmers’ income by double or triple in the next three to four years. “Most of our technologies are suitable for 26 states and Union Territories in the country,” he said.
Mohapatra appealed to the scientific community to focus more on capacity building in data interpretation and data analysis than in data collection.
Strongly advocating the creation of a Global Knowledge Hub for Agricultural Statistics (GKHAS), the ICAR director general said that scientists cutting across various research institutes must identify their special strengths and share them with others where the deficiencies lie.
He urged for supporting evidence-based decision making through data analytics by creating investments in infrastructure and capacity building.
Mohapatra emphasised the need for linking science, technology, and innovation with entrepreneurship for not only retaining youth in agriculture but also to create employment by making the entire value chain in agriculture a profitable proposition.
IIHR Director M. R. Dinesh said that over five days the NHF will encourage farmers to take up horticulture as entrepreneurship to promote Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India). “In the coming days many more entrepreneurs will take horticulture as entrepreneurship,” Dinesh said.
He also informed that the institute has helped transform farmers into entrepreneurs who are producing 25 tonnes of seeds purchased by the institute. The seeds are now available online and delivered to the doorstep.