‘Declare suicide prone areas in Maha as organic farming zones’
Mumbai : In the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch for expansion of organic farming across the country, a prominent farm activist has urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ban the use of chemicals in 14 suicide prone districts of the state.
“All the 14 districts of Maharashtra affected by farmers’ suicide should be declared as organic farming zones, thus banning use of chemicals in form of fertilisers, pesticides, micro nutrients and other toxic substances used in cultivation and post cultivation processes,” activist Kishor Tiwari said.
“This will reduce the cost of cultivation by over 50 per cent and is only way to provide safe and poison free food to the people,” said the president of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission, which was constituted as a task force to redress the hardship of farmers.
“The acute distress in more than 5 million cotton growing dry land farms at present is a result of a complete failure of chemical farming. It has not only increased debts and cost of cultivation but also caused soil degradation,” he added.
Tiwari, who has been accorded the status of Minister of State, said, chemicals also increases resistivity of viruses causing epidemic attacks. Unregulated use of chemicals and unsafe technology has been one of the main causes of farmer suicides.
“Thus, to address the distress in farmers’ suicide prone areas, sustainable agriculture and a holistic non-chemical farming is only ray of hope,” he said.
Tiwari also runs an NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJS) which works for widows of farmers who commit suicides because of financial problems.