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Organic farmers relishing prospect of good harvest

 Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, October 25 2023: Even though the state recorded substantial rainfall deficit this year affecting the agriculture sector to a great extent, paddy fields where organic farming system were adopted are bound to fetch a good harvest.

Green Foundation, a service provider of Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), under the aegis of Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) has been facilitating farmers in different parts of the state to take up organic farming.

Officials and scientists of Green Foundation led by its CEO U Himmat, former KVK subject matter specialist and Foundation's scientific advisor Dr M Thoithoi, and Sagolsem Surmangol along with media persons visited organic farms at Konthoujam, Kangmong, Tao thong in Imphal West and Pung-dongbam in Imphal East district on Tuesday to assess condition of the paddy crops.

During interaction with the team, organic farmer Konthoujam Sanajaoba, who owns a paddy farm near Konthoujam Lairembi, said that the area faced drought-like situation this year due to rainfall deficit.

Left with no option, he sowed seeds in his dry farm, which had even developed cracks.

As he could not see any growth of the plants, he consulted Green Foundation and adopted organic farming system.

As he did not use any chemical fertiliser due to the drought situation, it became a major advantage for him to adopt organic farming.

Based on the advice of the foundation, he used Pseudomonas fluorescens growth promoter along with bio-fertilisers Agro-vita and Neemcake.

For around a week, he did not see any change in the plant growth.

Worried over the condition, he contacted the foundation's chief scientific officer Dr Thiyam General, who gave him assurance that the crops will gradually grow which turned into reality as growth of crop started after about 15 days and there was minimal pest infestation and grainless crops.

Even though he did not follow the system fully, Sanajaoba said he is convinced about good harvest while opining that a better harvest was cer tain had he followed the organic farming system fully.

The condition is same with organic farmers at Kangmong, Taothong and Pungdongbam as well, who are relishing over prospect of better harvest than other farms in the nearby areas, which use chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Interacting with the media, CEO U Himmat said that the foundation has been working on organic farming since 1998 with the objective to promote healthy food, which can also withstand the impact of climate change with less cost.

With long term use of chemicals, not only soil quality gets degraded over the time but also toxicity of soil as well as crops grown on it increases.

The foundation carried out several laboratory tests in this regard and put efforts to encourage farmers to add organic nutrients in their soil instead of chemical fertilisers.

The foundation produced a plant nutrient solution called 'All in One', which is derived from micro-organisms present in soil and air like Azotobacter and Azospirillum.

This product helped in getting recognition from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, which recognised the foundation as its Global Soil Part ner.

Under this new role, the foundation roped in around 150 farmers for organic farming and the initiative has seen successful.

Under the initiative, the foundation's scientists work closely with farmers right from seed sowing till harvesting.

The foundation developed a system under which six different microbes are applied in the held.

These microbes enable the plants to grow their roots deeper into the soil making them capable of absorbing water from deeper soil in times of water scarcity, he added.

According to Dr M Thoithoi, organic farming is different from natural farming.

People may think that organic farming may be costly but it is quite the opposite as such method is cost effective compared to use of chemicals as in conventional farming system.

Crops produced from organic farming are neither toxic to human body nor harm the soil.

Pseudomonas fluorescens not only inhibits growth in plants but also add an extra layer of protection from pest as well, he said.

Meanwhile.

S Surmangol observed that farmers are sceptical on adopting organic farming as they are worried if their yield would decrease.

However, as'a result of years of research and testing, organic farming can be adopted for local rice varieties as well as high yielding varieties.

Today, more and more farmers are becoming aware of the benefits of organic farming, he added.