Reduction in cost of production need to be addressed: Prof Chand

Prof. Ramesh Chand, member of NITI Aayog highlighted the need to address the rising real costs of agricultural production, which directly affect farmers' incomes. He expressed these concerns during his visit to Himachal Pradesh, where he met with progressive farmers practicing natural farming and scientists from Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, who are researching this environmentally friendly approach.

Prof. Chand spoke at an interactive session with farmers practising natural farming at the University’s Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station (RHRTS) in Mashobra. He pointed out that while food was once synonymous with health, today’s consumers often fear the safety of available food products. He called for a shift towards environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices to rebuild consumer confidence.

Prof. Chand also questioned the sustainability of chemical farming and urged natural farming to prove itself as a viable alternative. He emphasized the need for scientific data collection on natural farming and the integration of modern science to enhance its efficacy as a substitute for chemical farming. He also fondly recalled his time as a scientist at RHRTS Mashobra and the university

Prof. Rajeshwar Singh, UHF Vice Chancellor, welcomed the attendees and praised farmers who have adopted natural farming. He noted that these farmers have not only addressed initial doubts about natural farming but have also demonstrated excellent results in their fields. Shri C Paulrasu, Secretary of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh, lauded natural farming as a potential boon for the state's small and marginal farmers, given that around 70 percent of farms in Himachal Pradesh are less than a hectare in size. He commended the university’s role in promoting natural farming and providing it with scientific support through research trials.

Farmers from various parts of Shimla district shared their experiences and feedback on natural farming. Discussions also covered marketing of natural farming produce, efficient water use, cooperatives, farmer producer companies, branding and labeling products, and local consumption. Earlier, Dr. Usha Sharma, Coordinator of Krishi Vigyan Kendra Shimla, presented the research trials and results of natural farming conducted at RHRTS Mashobra. 

The event concluded with a field visit to the natural farming apple demonstration block at the station. Prof. Chand appreciated the university’s research efforts and their practical demonstrations to the farming community.