The Himachal Pradesh government is working towards certifying at least 15,000 farmers and apple growers practising chemical-free cultivation by March, intended to give a further boost to zero budget natural farming in the state.
Onkar Sharma, Principal Secretary, Agriculture: “We have started working on the certification process and once it happens, the farmers will get much better price for their produce.”
Sharma said around 6,700 apple growers had already adopted natural farming. “We are very pleased with how this apple orchard has come up. We are asking orchardists to practise natural farming on a small portion of their orchard initially. Once they start and see the results, we are sure they will completely switch to natural farming.”
While apple growers at many places have complaints regarding the size and colour of fruit this year, largely because of the adverse climatic conditions, Sharma said the orchardists practising “natural farming were not facing problems regarding size and colour”. “Besides, the shelf life of a naturally grown apple is much longer vis-à-vis those grown with the help of chemicals,” said Sharma.