National Agricultural Research System coordinated at the apex level by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)/ Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), comprises of 98 Agricultural Research Institutes, 5 Deemed Universities and 3 Central Agricultural Universities besides 63 State Agricultural Universities, 4 Universities with Agriculture Faculty and 82 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs)/Network projects mandated for developing, testing and refining new technologies in agriculture sector. To provide information about these technologies to the farmers, Government has established a network of 725 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) at district level and coordinated by 11 Agricultural Technology Application and Research Institute (ATARIs) established at Zonal level in the Country. These KVKs are mandated to provide information about new technologies in agriculture sector to the farmers. The major activities undertaken by KVKs include on-farm testing of location specificity of technologies under various farming systems; frontline demonstration to establish the production potential of improved agricultural technologies on the farmers’ field; capacity development of farmers for knowledge and skill up gradation; providing farm advisories on varied subjects of interest to farmers using ICT and other tools; production and distribution of quality seeds, planting materials and other technology inputs to farmers. Besides, Government is also implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) which aims at making available the latest agricultural technologies in different thematic areas to increase agricultural production through extension activities viz. Farmers Training, Demonstrations, Exposure Visits, Kisan Mela, Mobilization of Farmers Groups and Setting up of Farm Schools. During the last three years and current year (till date), a total of 41629 exhibitions/ farmers’ fairs have been organized with participation of 1.28 crore farmers. Similarly, a total of 1,78,811 training programmes with participation of 1.01 crore farmers have been organized during the last three years and during the current year till date by KVKs, ICAR Institutes and ATMA. Government is extending regular advisories to more than 5.00 crore farmers through MKisan portal.
Government is promoting and supporting organic farming and zero budget natural farming under various schemes, detailed below:-
- DARE/ICAR through its Plan Scheme ‘Network Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)’ is undertaking research in 20 centres covering 16 states to develop location specific organic farming package of practices for crops and cropping systems. Organic farming package of practices for 51 crops/cropping systems have been developed to provide technical backstopping to the line departments’ schemes implemented in the country.
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), a sub-component of Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), promotes cluster based organic farming with Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification. Cluster formation, training, certification and marketing are supported under the scheme. Assistance of Rs. 50,000 per ha for 3 years is provided, out of which 62% i.e., Rs. 31,000 is given as incentive to a farmer towards use of organic inputs.
- The Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), promotes 3rd party certified organic farming of niche crops of north east region through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) with focus on exports. Farmers are given assistance of Rs 25000/ha for 3 years for organic inputs including organic manure and bio-fertilisers etc. Support for formation of FPOs, capacity building, post-harvest infrastructure up to Rs 2 crores are also provided under the scheme.
- 100% assistance is provided to State Governments/ Government agencies through Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme for setting up of mechanized fruit/ vegetable market place, waste/ agro-waste compost production unit to the extent of Rs.190.00 Lakh /unit (capacity of 3000 t/annum of finished compost). Similarly, for individuals/ private agencies, assistance up to 33% of cost limit to Rs 63 lakh/unit as capital investment is provided for the purpose.
- Under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, financing facility is provided to State agencies, Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Farmer Producer Organisations, entrepreneurs etc. for setting up of organic input production units, community farming assets and post-harvest infrastructure for value addition to organic produce.
- The farmers are encouraged to use organic inputs by providing financial assistance through number of other schemes. For example, under the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) and National Food Security Mission (NFSM), the financial assistance @ 50% subsidy to the tune of Rs. 300/- per ha is provided for use of organic inputs.
This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in Lok Sabha today.