New Delhi [India], August 19 (ANI): National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organised a training-cum-workshop camp in Shirdi, Maharashtra and urged the farmers to adopt zero budget natural farming under 'Arth Ganga Campaign', said a press release by the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Friday.
In the workshop on Thursday, NMCG facilitated the exposure visit of about 30 farmers from the Ganga Basin to the Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF) to promote natural farming under Namami Gange programme.
Notably, this training-cum-workshop camp started from August 18 to August 22.
The facilitation of farmers for the workshop under Namami Gange Programme is to achieve the objectives of preventing the flow of contaminated water from farms into the Ganga and create a sustainable livelihood model for farmers based on natural farming under Arth Ganga initiative, espoused by the Prime Minister during the 1st National Ganga Council meeting in December 2019 in Kanpur.
G Ashok Kumar, Director General, NMCG took part in the workshop on Thursday in the presence of Subhash Palekar, a renowned agriculturalist who is popularly referred as 'Krishi ka Rishi' by the farming community. He is the promoter of 'Zero Budget Natural Farming' technique currently being promoted as Subhash Palekar Farming across India.
According to the statement, around 30 farmers from various districts in states on the main stem of the Ganga including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal took part in the workshop. Madhav Rao Deshmukh, a leading farmer and a follower of Palekar also attended the event.
The event witnessed fruitful interaction between Palekar and the participating farmers. He talked about the significance of acknowledging the natural scheme of things and emphasized the importance of informed agricultural practices to effectively use water.
Underlining some instances from his own extensive experience, Palekar spoke about the techniques and importance of natural farming and various health benefits that could be accrued from it in the long-term. "Trust is the most important factor that one should have to follow to be successful," he added.
On the other hand, the curious farmers shared their experiences with the gathering and asked various questions.
The workshop also includes training and field visit of exotic fruit farms such as Dragon Fruit, exposure visits to mixed crop, banana, spices farms, training on conversion of wasteland to farmland by Natural Farming model, experience sharing on marketing of natural produce to establish a value chain free of middlemen etc.
Addressing the gathering Kumar talked about his association with 'Maa Ganga' from the past 3-4 years and gave an overview of how the Namami Gange Programme was envisioned by the Prime Minister in 2014 to make River Ganga Nirmal an Aviral.
"Due to the flowing of dirty water from sewage and industries, River Ganga became polluted and the biodiversity, especially Ganga Dolphins started becoming extinct. In 2014, Namami Gange Programme was launched to clean River Ganga."The positive impact of the work done under Namami Gange Programme are now showing. Some of the examples of this change are tapping the infamous Sisamau drain in Kanpur in 2019 (that discharged 14 crore liters sewage everyday into the River) and the improved water quality during Kumbh 2019. The number of sightings of Ganga Dolphins and other aquatic species in the River has increased which is the best indicator of its good health, more than any other technical parameter.
"The efforts to stop the flow of more than 500 crore liters of contaminated water into River Ganga are being made and the participation of 20 crore people during Kumbh 2019 against the estimated 7 crore is a testament to the improved water quality of Ganga," he added. He informed that 20 lakh fishes were ranched into the Ganga in the past few months at 10 locations in 5 main stem states to enhance biodiversity.
Speaking on the plans to make banks of Ganga 'chemical farming-mukt', Director-General said that NMCG is continuously striving to nudge the farmers towards natural farming to achieve the twin objectives of stopping the contaminated water from flowing into River Ganga from the fields and provide economic benefits of natural farming under the Arth Ganga campaign.
"On 16th August 2022, NMCG has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sahakar Bhartito form, among other objectives, a farmers' cooperative society in every village along River Ganga and promote natural farming among the farmers," he informed, adding, "In order to ensure sustainability of the river rejuvenation programme and increase people-river connect, various interventions are being brought in through ArthGanga initiative that aims to enhance public participation through enhanced economic activities."Reiterating the need for effective water management, Kumar said that during his tenure at the National Water Mission, a rainwater harvesting campaign 'Catch the Rain: Where it Falls, When it Falls' was launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of World Water Day on 22nd March 2021. He also spoke about the concept of water-use efficiency and cited the example of how China uses 700 litres of water while we use 3,000 litres for equal amount of paddy production.
Madhav Rao Deshmukh, a leading farmer from Maharashtra spoke about his mission to promote Palekar's techniques on natural farming across the country and transform it into a Jan Andolan. (ANI)