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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Seminar on bio-agriculture organized in Ranchi

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“If you call “mother” to the earth, protect it” said Vandana Shiva while she was speaking in the state level seminar organised jointly by National Agricultural and Rural Development Bank and Jharkhand Vaikalpic Vikash Manch in Hotel Ashoka on December 21, 2011. The seminar was organised on the topic “Bio-agriculture”. Opposing chemical based agriculture, Shiva emphasized on bio- agriculture stressing that it only can protect the fertility of soil.

Dr. Vandana Shiva informed that out of two lakh indigenous varieties of paddy, only 30 were left in the fields of Jharkhand. Foreign companied wish that Indian farmers should stop saving indigenous seeds and should purchase seeds from markets. Thus they are trying to make farmers dependent on them and companies may remain able to guide them at their will.
Dr. Shiva reportedly stressed that confusion was being created on bio-agriculture and chemical based agriculture was projected as the only method of increasing productivity. Global reports revealed that chemical based agriculture could not yield more for long. It consumes water ten times more than the bio-agriculture. She further told Punjab state of India was facing the consequences of chemical based agriculture. She told that it was the result of chemical based agriculture that wheat does not contain protein and carrot does not have taste.

Supporting Dr. Shiva, Satyanand Batul, the Minister of Agriculture, Government of Jharkhand said that Jharkhand would try its best to promote bio-agriculture and would make farmers aware bout it. She told that farmers would be connected to bio-agriculture through programmes at blocks and districts levels.
A.K.Singh, secretary of Department of Agriculture told that bio-agriculture was started in five hundred acres in the first phase. This time the planning aimed for a large scale and state bio-mission was launched for it. Now the scheme was to connect about 13000 farmers. Mr. Singh reportedly stressed that 78 NGOs had come forward and these were to be trained in two phases. The programme also aimed to encourage cultivation species as well. The aim was to cultivate Turmeric, ginger, coriander, garlic and other medicinal plants during the current phase. A number of farmers too interacted during the seminar and shared their experiences.

According to the latest issue of Bio-agriculture newsletter - Over the last 40 years many agricultural research organisations have made studies of organic and bio-dynamic agriculture that show the potential of these farming methods to be a major part of the solution to global climate change. 

Again and again these studies have shown that over long periods of time and under many different conditions, organic and bio-dynamic farming practices continually sequester large amounts of measurable carbon into the soil. They also show that conventional chemical based agriculture degrades the land and thus reduces soil carbon over the long term.
 Most of this scientific research was done before global warming was ever an issue. It was done primarily to increase our knowledge of these farming methods and their sustainability.
Under the name of bio-agriculture (an inclusive term for organic and bio-dynamic farming methods) Erwin Berney has made it his work to bring together this research and do an in-depth study of its implications to climate change. Dr Jonathan Banks and Hamish Mackay have collaborated in this.

The results are extremely encouraging.
By using bio-agricultural farming methods the world could not only meet its emissions reduction targets, but can also seriously think about becoming carbon neutral. In addition to this the study reveals many other benefits of these farming methods. From extra income for farmers – paid carbon credits for sequestering CO2, to reversing land degradation and thus helping to ensure food security for the rapidly growing world population. Compared to other emission reduction solutions bio-agriculture is low cost and easy to implement.

Key Words: seminar, Hotel Ashoka, Jharkhand, bio-agriculture, chemical-based agriculture, NGOs

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