Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said farmers should switch over to natural and organic farming. He congratulated 1.63 lakh farmers who are practising natural farming. If the plans go as visualised, the zero budget natural farming would be extended to 60 lakh acres in the State by 2024. This would require series of trainings to the farmers which is expected to cost Rs 16,000 crore to the State exchequer.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh had signed MoU with Sustainable India Finance Facility to execute this ambitious programme. The State government had already initiated several measures to promote agriculture bringing down the investment and to increase the income through market intervention. Mechanisation too is being pushed forward in agriculture with the government subsidising the tools including tractors.
The Chief Minister, while addressing the experts and farmers at the workshop on zero budget natural farming, said over-usage of pesticides leading to health problems and at the same time farmers are incurring losses with heavy expenditure. He said the need of the hour is natural farming to prevent pollution of agricultural products. He said AP should emerge as number one in natural farming.
Praising the efforts of government advisor T Vijayakumar and principal secretary of agriculture B Rajasekhar for successful implementation of natural farming, the Chief Minister said the state achieved 18 per cent growth rate in agricultural against 3 per cent growth rate at national level. Earlier the Chief Minister went round the natural farming exhibition.
Participating as Chief Guest, United Nations environment wing executive director Erik Solheim said the farmers of AP brought a revolutionary change with natural farming. He praised the efforts of women self-help groups for successful implementation of natural farming.
Secretary of Agriculture, Government of India SK Patnaik said AP stands ideal for other states in natural farming. He said the World Bank and Asia Development Bank and global environment fund agencies should extend financial assistance to AP.
World Business council on sustainable development chairman Sunny Verghese said AP remains ideal for the rest of the world in natural farming. SIFF president Tripathi expressed happiness over presence of over 8000 farmers who are practising natural farming.